Friends of the CWB to appeal class action ruling

A group of farmers who tried to launch a class action lawsuit against the federal government and CWB is promising to keep fighting against what it calls an “unprecedented theft” of farmer assets by Ottawa.

Stewart Wells, chair of the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board (FCWB), announced Jan. 2 that farmer litigants will appeal a Nov. 29 ruling by Federal Court justice Daniele Tremblay-Lamer.

That ruling rejected many of the arguments put forward by the FCWB in its statement of claim and refuted suggestions that farmer property had been unjustly confiscated by Ottawa and the CWB.

In her ruling, Tremblay-Lamar suggested that changes to CWB legislation did not divest class action plaintiffs of property or assets.

However, the government may have deprived farmers of some pool payouts during the 2011-12-transition year, she added.

Because of that, a limited class action suit should be allowed to continue, she said.

But in a news release issued today by the FCWB, Wells said plaintiffs believe that Tremblay-Lamer erred in her judgment.

“Our supporters feel that it is imperative that we continue with our legal efforts to recover the $17 billion of value and assets farmers put into the wheat board,” Wells said in the news release.

“It was 50 years ago this past month the Canadian Wheat Board, in consultation with its farmer advisory committee, moved into a downtown Winnipeg office building bought and paid for with farmers’ money, and no amount of legal sophistry or rationalization can change the fact farmers are owed compensation for what amounts to an unprecedented theft of private resources by Ottawa.”

Anders Bruun, legal counsel for FCWB, said the appeal moves forward the legal action on the seizure of the wheat board’s assets and reputation from farmers by the federal government.

“(This appeal) … shows the resolve of my clients to keep fighting against the expropriation without compensation that the government has visited on farmers,” Bruun said.