Farmers for economic freedom

Updates from the Canadian Farm Enterprise Network

web posted January 1998

CFEN consults with organizations over Charter of Rights case

The CFEN reports that they recently met with several organizations and lawyers to build the best possible constitutional challenge to the expropriation of grain from western grain farmers. The group consulted with the National Citizens Coalition, The Property Rights Institute and their lawyers, and solicitors who argued the Charter of Rights case for the Barley Commission against the CWB monopoly.

All agreed that the CFEN's case is straightforward and has a good chance if they stuck to one main issue, that the monopoly is an expropriation by the federal government and is a violation of farmer's property rights.

The group also met with counsel who led the fight against the government's gun bill on behalf of the provinces. On the basis of grain as strictly a property issue, he felt that CFEN has an even better case, with more chance of success, than against the gun law.

Finally, CFEN also met with historian Dr. Bercuson and political scientist Dr. Cooper. These highly respected academics have researched Canada Wheat Board activities which exposes the federal government taking of grain for their own purposes during and even after the war. Covered by a cloak of secrecy, the practices continues today. Bercuson and Cooper will testify if their expenses can be covered.

Glenn Pizzy has agreed to testify at the CFEN trial starting on February 9. Pizzy has a flour mill on his farm at Angusville, Manitoba. He cannot even move the grain across his farm yard from the bin to the flour mill without giving up ownership to the CWB. He will explain that before he could mill his grain, he had to hail his grain to town, sell it to the Wheat Board, and buy if back at an arbitrarily set higher price and hail it home to his mill. On one occasion, they told him he couldn't even do that because there was no quota!

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.

Trial news

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.

"It's that simple. The trade in grain is made illegal so we have no choice but to hand it over to them. Is the absence of trade and commerce to be considered trade and commerce? Only in George Orwell's 1984 where war is peace and freedom means slavery," stated the CFEN in a release.

In other research, Stacey found that the Crown had used a very interesting case as a precedent to expropriate grain. In Canada, Japanese Canadians were interned during the second world war, their homes, businesses and personal property expropriated by the federal government. The government used this shameful injustice as a legal precedent to the CWB Act expropriating farmer's grain!

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
Box 521
Central Butte, Saskatchewan
S0H 0T0

Write the following and demand free market rights for Western Canadian farmers!

The Canadian Wheat Board
423 Main Street
P.O. Box 816, Stn. M.
Winnipeg, MB
R3C 2P5

Telephone: (204) 983-0239 / 1-800-ASK-4-CWB
Fax: (204) 983-3841
Email Address:

Ralph Goodale
Minister Responsible for the Canada Wheat Board
Department of Natural Resources Canada
21 - 580 Booth Street
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0E4

Telephone: (613)996-2007
Fax Number: (613)996-4516
Email Address:

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