Manitoba court will not suspend Canada Wheat Board law

Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:30pm EST
 
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By Rod Nickel and Julie Gordon

(Reuters) - A Manitoba court cleared away some of the uncertainty surrounding Western Canada's move to an open grain market on Friday, rejecting a request to suspend a federal law that ends the Canadian Wheat Board's marketing monopoly.

The court case, one of several challenges to Ottawa's decision to scrap the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly, was launched by eight former directors of the CWB who wanted farmers to decide whether to keep the monopoly.

The directors' case, which was heard before the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, had left the grain industry uncertain about whether the monopoly would end in August as scheduled and whether they should sign contracts with producers.

The judge dismissed the directors' motion and said there would be no injunction to suspend the new law.

"I have concluded that the plaintiffs have not demonstrated that there is a serious question to be tried," wrote Judge Shane Perlmutter in the 29-page court document.

The Canadian government passed legislation in December ending the CWB's marketing monopoly over Western Canada's wheat and barley for milling or export. Once the law passed the government took control of the board by removing the eight farmer-elected directors.

The new law also allowed grain handlers, millers and farmers to sign forward-delivery contracts for 2012 crops.

The Manitoba decision will give grain handlers and farmers more confidence to move ahead with contracts for this year's crops, said Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevators Association.   Continued...