Questions & Answers

1. Who has filed this claim and in what court?
2. Who are the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board (FCWB)?
3. What is the purpose of this class action?
4. Why can’t the government change the Canadian Wheat Board?
5. The Merchant Law Group has already filed a class action suit asking for damages from the Federal Government. How is this lawsuit different?
6. Do farmers need to sign on to this class action?
7. What has the FCWB achieved so far on behalf of farmers?
8. What will this court action cost and where are you getting the money from?
9. How can farmers and other Canadians support this class action?

1. Who has filed this claim and in what court? [top of page]

Answer: On February 15, 2012, the law firm of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP (SGM), one of Canada’s leading public interest law firms, filed a statement of claim in Federal Court on behalf of the four farmer plaintiffs.

2. Who are the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board (FCWB)? [top of page]

Answer: Members of the FCWB include: Producer Car Shippers of Canada (PCSC), Canadian Wheat Board Alliance (CWBA), the eight dismissed farmer-elected CWB Directors, other Canadians, and the National Farmers Union (NFU).

3. What is the purpose of this class action? [top of page]

Answer: This lawsuit has two goals.

  1. To restore the single desk of the Canadian Wheat Board and to re-establish farmer control of the Wheat Board
  2. To recover all damages resulting from Ottawa’s efforts to dismantle the Wheat Board.

4. Why can’t the government change the Canadian Wheat Board? [top of page]

Answer: Neither Parliament nor Cabinet is above the law or the constitution. Parliament can make laws, and Parliament can repeal laws, but Parliament cannot break laws and it may not infringe the constitutional rights of Canadians.

On December 7, 2011, Federal Court Justice Douglas Campbell agreed with FCWB that Parliament acted unlawfully when it changed the Canadian Wheat Board Act, calling Ottawa’s actions “an affront to the rule of law.” This class action seeks to give force and meaning to Justice Campbell’s judgment.

5. The Merchant Law Group has already filed a class action suit asking for damages from the Federal Government. How is this lawsuit different? [top of page]

Answer: There are three principle differences.

  1. The Merchant lawsuit is only seeking compensation. This lawsuit is also seeking to restore the farmer-controlled, single desk Canadian Wheat Board and restore our farmer democracy.
  2. The Merchant lawsuit is only on behalf of “Farmers/Producers, and their Estates, who sold Grain to the CWB on or after January 1, 2011 and before August 1, 2012.” This action is on behalf of a more comprehensive class consisting of “grain producers, or their estates, who sold grain to the Canadian Wheat Board on or after January 1, 2006, and who were entitled to be included in the voters list in respect of the election of Directors of the Canadian Wheat Board at any time since that date.”
  3. This lawsuit is supported by the Friends of the Wheat Board, Producer Car Shippers of Canada, The Canadian Wheat Board Alliance, and the National Farmers’ Union.

6. Do farmers need to sign on to this class action? [top of page]

Answer: No. There is no need to sign on. If this case is certified as a class action, all “grain producers, or their estates, who sold grain to the Canadian Wheat Board on or after January 1, 2006, and who were entitled to be included in the voters list in respect of the election of Directors of the Canadian Wheat Board at any time since that date” will be automatically part of the class, unless they opt out of the class action.

However, farmers are invited to register at www.cwbclassaction.ca in order to receive further information and indicate their support of this class action.

7. What has the FCWB achieved so far on behalf of farmers? [top of page]

Answer: On December 7, 2011, Federal Court Judge Justice Douglas Campbell ruled the passage of Bill C-18 ending the CWB was illegal. In spite of this the federal government proceeded with Bill C-18 and it was given royal assent on December 15, 2011. Ottawa started implementing the legislation immediately by dismissing the farmer-elected Board of Directors and replacing them with government appointees. This is only the third time in modern Canadian history that Ottawa has defied the courts and the rule of law by implementing legislation under such a cloud.

Ottawa has appealed Justice Campbell’s ruling. The FCWB are fighting Ottawa’s appeal of this ruling.

On December 14, 2011, the eight farmer-elected CWB directors applied in Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench for a stay of implementation (injunction) to stop the implementation of Bill C-18 before Provincial Judge Shane Perlmutter. After a full court hearing of the request for a stay of implementation on January 17 and 18, 2012, Judge Perlmutter reserved his decision. This means he will release a written ruling sometime in the future. Regardless of how he rules, we anticipate an appeal from one side or the other.

8. What will this court action cost and where are you getting the money from? [top of page]

Answer: Legal challenges are expensive and costs can quickly add up. Our money for this action comes from farmers and other Canadians who understand the value of single desk selling and Canadian democracy. We are urging all famers and other Canadians who are interested in protecting our democracy and a strong CWB to donate generously to any of the groups involved with the FCWB.

9. How can farmers and other Canadians support this class action?  [top of page]

Answer: You may make a donation to the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board by mailing a cheque to:

Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board, Box 41, Brookdale, MB, ROK 0G0 or by donating directly by using the Friends’ credit card facility at 204-354-2254 donations may also be made by using PayPal online at: http://friendsofcwb.ca/donate

Or to:

Producer Car Shippers of Canada, Box 242, Briercrest, Saskatchewan, S0H 0K0

The Canadian Wheat Board Alliance, Box 125, Hussar, AB, T0J 1S0 you can also donate using PayPal online at: http://www.cwbafacts.ca/donate/

The National Farmers’ Union, 2717 Wentz Ave. Saskatoon, Sk. S7K 4B6. You can use their secure credit card option at http://nfu.ca/store/donation.html