Canadian Farmers for Justice

web posted May 1997

Freedom Defeated in One Court...

Western grain farmers who prefer freedom suffered their second defeat when a federal court judge ruled that there was no constitutional reason to take barley marketing away from the Canada Wheat Board (CWB).

In his ruling, Justice Francis Muldoon said the federal government has the right in a free and democratic society to regulate the market as it sees fit.

Muldoon wrote, "Such decisions are for Parliament and not for the court so long as Parliament infringes no charter rights."

That isn't the case with the wheat board's monopoly on barley sales, he ruled.

Muldoon also ordered those who challenged the board's monopoly to pay court costs.

CWB Chief Commissioner Lorne Hehn was pleased with the decision, saying that it validated the stand the CWB had taken all along.

The farmers, for their part, didn't make any comment.

Individual grower Ted Cawkwell of Nut Mountain, Sask., said losing one battle doesn't mean the war is over.
Cawkwell said he's convinced the movement to open up the Canadian barley and wheat market will gain momentum and more farmers will do what they can to avoid going through the board.

"We're working our way out of it just because we have to," said Cawkwell.

He no longer grows hard red spring wheat, which must go through the board, and is looking for other varieties of barley he can sell privately.

The court loss wasn't much of a surprise, but the reason given by Muldoon terrified me. Think about a contradiction so massive, so perverse, that it's very blatancy nearly numbs the mind into not understanding its full breadth.

In a free and democratic society, says Muldoon, the government has the right to impose whatever limitations it wishes. Where is the freedom? This is possible in a immoral democracy where the majority regularly limits the rights of the minority, but not in a free country. Congratulations Muldoon.

...but Upheld in Another!

The CFFJ is now weighing their options in light of the recent Court of Queens Bench decision wherein Justice Keyser dismissed the Crown's appeal attempting to overturn the acquittal of David Sawatzky. Justice Keyser concluded that, "David Sawatzky was not required to provide an export license to the Chief Officer of Customs, as charged."

Legal advisor Dan Creighton claims "the Canadian Farmers for Justice have always insisted that nowhere in the Customs Act or its Regulations does it state that an export license granted by the Canadian Wheat Board shall be provided to the Chief Officer of Customs prior to the exportation of wheat or barley. All Canadian Farmers for Justice are encouraged by the integrity of Provincial Court Judge Connor and Queens Bench appeal Justice Keyser for upholding what they have always claimed their constitutional rights."

John King, a Manitoba farmer and a member of CFFJ says, "this decision of Justice Keyser clarifies once and for all that The Honorable Ralph Goodale and his disciples who labeled the Canadian Farmers for Justice as grain smugglers and radicals have seriously erred and an apology should be forthcoming."

Jim Ness, a farmer from Oyen, Alberta said, "this decision clearly clarifies that the Customs charges must stand on their own and that the Order In Council issued by Ralph Goodale immediately following the original acquittals of David Sawatzky wherein he claimed to close the loophole is in fact not applicable to any charges created under the Customs Act and that any further charges for exporting wheat or barley must be made pursuant to the Canada Wheat Board Act." He continued, "This acquittal now creates a whole new field for the ball game."

A Farmer Speaks on Central Planning

"The idea of central planning, which was the foundation of communism, simply cannot exist in high-technology, modern economy that is constantly changing. Who can argue with that?" (Dale Eisler, senior writer for MacLean's Magazine in the April 17 Saskatoon Star Phoenix)

A gentle shake of the head might cause the names of federal agriculture minister Ralph Goodale and Premier Roy Romanow to spring to mind. When much of the world has come to its senses these two are trying to turn the clock back to the 1930s and they are doing it in Western Canada.

Eisler, a normally astute observer of the political scene, correctly notes that much of the world has rejected Marxist-Leninist solutions to economic problems. The millions of people who have died as a result of central planning policies makes Hitler look like a rank amateur in the field of mass murder. Reliable Russian estimates are that Stalin caused the death of 30 million people. In his recent book, Hungry Ghosts: China's Secret Famine, British journalist, Jasper Becker writes of Mao Tse Tung's "Great Leap Forward". Western demographers have estimated, with the help of census records supplied by the Chinese government after Mao's death, that 80 million were killed directly by socialist thugs and the greatest famine in history. Mao's attempt to force his collectivist policies on his countrymen was solely responsible for this famine. The central planners completely mismanaged the economy and when farmers did not meet their unrealistic quotas they were killed, imprisoned and their meager harvest seized.

Eisler states, according to Professor Francis Fukuyama of George Mason University, Washington, D.C., the reason socialism failed is because it could not deal with a modern economy, which requires decentralization and an open market to operate efficiently. An unfettered market through the pricing system gives the best signals of changing circumstances. What escapes Eisler is that in Western Canada we have the last bastion of discredited socialist central planning, the Canadian Wheat Board.

Strongly supported by Ralph Goodale and other collectivists like Saskatchewan agricultural minister Eric Upshall and Premier Roy Romanow, the CWB is poised to increase its power over Western Canada. Bill C-72, the new CWB Act, will it allow it to bring other crops under its control. A clause in the old Act that allowed a domestic dual market in feed wheat and barley which was instrumental in its growth of livestock feeding on the prairies has been deleted. Analysts believe this deletion will allow a gradual re-assertion of the CWB's authority over the interprovincial grain trade.

In a recent decision by Justice Muldoon on the charter challenge of the CWB Act by a group of farmers, the power of the Board was re-affirmed. The judge found that the Act did not discriminate against Western farmers even though it applies only to them. He also said that the government does not confiscate farmers' grain. The mental gymnastics that are used that are used to justify this stand boggles the mind. Farmers who wish to sell their grain can only sell it to the CWB at a price determined by it. This amounts to a de facto confiscation. Those who defy the system are met with the full panoply of naked, institutional violence.

The CWB also exhibits another characteristic of government central planning -- that of gross inefficiency. From January to the present, up to 50 ships have been in B.C. harbours waiting to be loaded and costing prairie farmers millions in demurrage fees, yet the terminals were filled to 80 per cent capacity. This was enough to load 20 ships. So why weren't they loaded? Because the CWB and its central planners had shipped the wrong grain to port. Then to cover their stupidity they blamed everybody's favourite shipping boy, the railroads.

Socialism and central planning destroyed the potential of many European and Asian economies. The same thing has befallen Saskatchewan under the CCF/NDP. Until the entrepreneurial spirit of modern Saskatchewan farmers is freed of its CWB fetters, we will remain an economic backwater.

Russell Larson,
Outlook, Saskatchewan

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