Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Court Strikes Down Several Claims in Wheat Board Lawsuit, but Case Move Ahead

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Court Strikes Down Several Claims in Wheat Board Lawsuit, but Case Move Ahead

Article excerpt

Court strikes down most claims in CWB lawsuit

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OTTAWA - The federal court has struck down most of the claims in a lawsuit by supporters of the old Canadian Wheat Board, but the case is still moving forward.

Board supporters are seeking $17 billion for damages they claim were caused when the federal government ended the CWB's monopoly over western wheat and barley sales.

Justice Daniele Tremblay-Lamer struck several claims, including those of expropriation and unlawful interference with economic relations.

On the expropriation issue, the judge basically said there has been no transfer of property.

"In sum, and unfortunately for the plaintiffs, the loss of a single desk due to the change in the regulatory scheme is not enough in itself to claim a loss of a property interest," she wrote in the decision.

Tremblay-Lamer said the claim for mismanagement can continue with a revised statement of claim.

On the mismanagement issue, board supporters say the government and the new CWB leadership used money that should have been paid to farmers to cover the transition when the marketing monopoly ended.

Board supporters argued that they have a proprietary interest in the assets and goodwill of the CWB.

The supporters also claim the government interfered with their economic relations by ending the single desk marketing system, which they said got them a premium price for their grain.

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in a news release Thursday that the ruling underscores the rights of Western Canadian farmers to market their own grain.

"While courts continue to strike down these frivolous lawsuits, the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of Western grain farmers have embraced marketing freedom and are capitalizing on new economic opportunities that were impossible under the old single desk," he said.

The government filed a motion last August asking for the claim to be struck and the proposed class action dismissed. …

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