Farm body sues Canada Wheat Board on monopoly fight

Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:21pm EDT
 
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - A farmer group that supports the government's decision to end the Canadian Wheat Board's grain marketing monopoly is suing the board for fighting Ottawa in court.

The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, which has long opposed the monopoly, said on Thursday it was filing a lawsuit against the board and eight of its 15 directors for misuse of farmers' money.

The move comes a day after the board said it would take legal action against Ottawa for failing to hold a farmer vote before introducing legislation to end the monopoly in August, 2012.

"The CWB and its board of directors have a duty to safeguard monies received from the sale of grain," said Saskatchewan farmer Gerrid Gust, chairman of the Wheat Growers. "This is not their personal slush fund."

The monopoly, dating back to the Second World War, requires Western Canadian farmers to sell wheat and barley for export or milling through the board. In an open market, farmers could sell to any buyer they choose.

Farmers are bitterly divided over the monopoly, but nearly two-thirds voted in the board's non-binding plebiscite last summer to retain the wheat monopoly.

The board could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Rod Nickel; Editing by Frank McGurty)