Manitoba judge rules against former wheat board directors
A Manitoba judge has thrown out a bid to suspend a new federal law ending the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on western grain sales.
Eight former wheat board directors had asked for an injunction to stop the law's implementation until a court could rule on its validity.
The directors argued that the law isn't valid because the federal government didn't hold a referendum among producers before ending the monopoly.
They also suggested changes to the wheat board would hurt western Canadian farmers.
But Justice Shane Perlmutter says the directors didn't prove that.
The legislation to abolish the monopoly was passed late last year, and Ottawa aims to have an open market for wheat and barley by the next crop year starting Aug. 1.
The former directors, who were elected by farmers, lost their jobs when the amended Canadian Wheat Board Act was passed in December.
Friday's decision is the latest marker in a continuing battle over the new law.
Since the 1940s, Prairies farmers had to sell their wheat and barley to the board, which in turn exported it to foreign markets.
Despite vocal opposition from some producers, as well as several lawsuits, the federal government went ahead with its long-standing promise to end the single-desk model.
The government said farmers had a right to sell their grain independently. It also said Parliament could change its own laws without a plebiscite and had, in essence, been given the go-ahead to do so when the Conservatives won a majority last spring.