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Canadian Supreme Court Will Not Hear CWB Case

The Supreme Court of Canada is upholding the 2013 decision by the Federal Court, and the October 2014 decision of the Federal Court of Appeal, in favor of the Canadian government's decision to eliminate the Canadian Wheat Board single desk marketing monopoly. The court will not hear an appeal brought by a farmer-led group, Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board, seeking damages from the Canadian government they feel resulted from the elimination of the Board.

Upon the announcement, Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz stated, "Today's ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada once again upholds Western Canadian farmers' right to marketing freedom.”

The lawsuit initially filed in 2012, claimed that the elimination of the monopoly, in effect, seized collective assets that farmers, wheat board members and other stakeholders had paid for over decades. Claimants have stated that the new marketing system has cost producers as much as C$5 billion in 2013-14, and that the price spread between what farmers received and what grain ultimately sold for in 2014-15 has cost farmers C$3 billion, adding that Canada’s standing in international grain trade has been damaged as a result of Ottawa’s new marketing and quality control systems.

A smaller portion of the case that was allowed by the Federal Court will proceed as a class action lawsuit in the upcoming months.

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Lynda Kiernan is Editor with HighQuest Group Media and of the Oilseed & Grain News. If you would like to submit a contribution for consideration, please contact Ms. Kiernan at lkiernan@highquestgroup.com.

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