Prairie farmers’ case for single desk clears first test

A farmer group seeking a judicial review of the federal government’s plans for the Canadian Wheat Board has deflected two preliminary legal shots from Ottawa.

A prothonotary (judicial officer) representing the Federal Court of Canada last week rejected a federal government motion to dismiss a case brought in June by the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board (FCWB).

The FCWB in late June filed in Federal Court in Winnipeg for a judicial review of the government’s plans to end the CWB’s single marketing desks for Prairie wheat and barley.

In its request for a review, the farmer group cites section 47.1 of the federal Canadian Wheat Board Act, which requires a grower plebiscite and consultation with the CWB’s board of directors before any crops can be added to, or subtracted from, the CWB’s single desk.

The prothonotary on Friday also rejected a request from federal government lawyers to have the FCWB case dealt with solely in writing, as opposed to an oral hearing in open court.

With those motions dismissed, a hearing date remains to be set for the FCWB’s case.

However, according to a report in this week’s Manitoba Co-operator, lawyers for the FCWB and federal government are to meet in early October to set a schedule for proceedings.

Related story:

Pro-CWB farmers aim to test Ritz’s plans in court, June 29, 2011

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