Farmers for economic freedom
Updates from the Canadian Farm Enterprise Network
web posted January 1998
CFEN consults with organizations over Charter of Rights case
CFEN meets with local farmers
The CFEN continues to meet with farmers across the west, drawing large crowds interested in learning about the group's fight against the CWB.
Meetings have been held in Lettelier and Carmen, Manitoba, as well as Winnipeg and Medora, Manitoba.
In the midst of their trial in Minnedosa, Manitoba (46 kilometres/29 miles north of Brandon) a dozen farmers have filed constitutional challenges similar to Dave Bryan's. The applications have stopped their trials until after Dave Bryan's is heard in February. They are effectively piggybacking on the CFEN case, making it theirs as well.
"It is encouraging that almost everyone now recognizes that we don't beat the CWB Act by butting heads with Customs, but by a constitutional challenge of the CWB itself. It is to be hoped that now everyone will pull in behind our powerful challenge prepared by Art Stacey," said the CFEN.
Art Stacey anticipates the federal lawyers will argue that the CWB Act
flows from their "trade and commerce" authority, and it is not
about property and civil rights.
If the CWB thought 1997 was tough...just wait for 1998!
"We're always going to have people with that view, and that's a fact."
That was CWB Commissioner Lorne Hehn in late December, commenting on the fact that he doesn't expect critics of the government monopoly to end any time soon. He's right.
In 1997 they attacked the board on several fronts.
About 100 court cases involving renegade farmers trying to export their own wheat, constitutional challenges and a producer plebiscite on barley marketing occurred in 1997.
In March more than 62 per cent of those who cast ballots opted to keep selling their malting and export feed barley through the wheat board thanks to the plebiscite being worded to produce that result.
In April federal Justice Francis Muldoon ruled there was no constitutional reason to remove the board's jurisdiction over barley.
As 1997 drew to a close, Alberta lost one court bid for a review of the board's grain-buying policies and was told by another judge that Ottawa was closing a loophole that might have let farmers bypass the board.
Doug Radke, Alberta's deputy minister of agriculture, said his province doesn't plan more legal forays for the time being.
"If the federal political process was responsive, there'd be no need for any of this legal business," he complained.
What was the federal government's response to these demands for economic freedom? Introduce Bill C-4, one that allowed farmers to choose most of the Board of Directors. After the bill died due to the federal election in June, Minister Responsible for the CWB, Ralph Goodale, brought it back....with a new twist.
The bill now includes a new provision allowing it to bring new grains under its marketing umbrella.
"Frightening," said Doug Robertson, who farms between Calgary and Red Deer, Alta.
"Right now the wheat board, we feel, is doing a bad job selling the two grains it has control of."
The forces arrayed against the CWB did an impressive job bringing a western Canada farming issue to national attention in 1997, now in 1998 we have to continue working through the courts and in the media to win economic freedom for western farmers.
The CFEN needs your help! The battle against the Canada Wheat Board can only continue with your support.
Canadian Farm Enterprise Network
Write the following and demand free market rights for Western Canadian farmers!
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