Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Court Defends Wheat Board

So much for the tainted plebicite, to justify the Conservatives war on the Canadian Wheat Board. The court gives Chuck Strahl a slap:
Federal Court Judge Dolores Hansen ruled Tuesday the Tory cabinet overstepped its authority earlier this year, when it passed a new regulation to allow farmers to sell their barley independently. "I conclude the new regulation is ultra vires (beyond cabinet's power) and of no force and effect," Hansen wrote.

The judge sided with supporters of the wheat board, who argued any changes to the board's monopoly must be made via a law passed in Parliament - something that could be blocked by the opposition.

McCreary said the minority Tory government in Ottawa will have a tough time getting its changes through Parliament, because the opposition parties have thrown their support behind the wheat board.

If Strahl had played fair, with an honest and open debate, including a fair and transparent choice, then you could support the initiative. Instead, the whole process was a propaganda campaign, with choices designed to muddy the outcome and allow a subjective reading. Remember when Strahl said "I will decide what the numbers mean"? Apparently, the court decided it might be best if the majority has a say, through their elected representatives- what a novel idea.

Minister Strahl releases a statement:
The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today issued the following statement in response to a Federal Court decision on the Canadian Wheat Board Regulations that would have allowed Western Canadian farmers to choose how they market their barley beginning August 1, 2007.

"I am most disappointed with the decision of the Federal Court. We will carefully review the Court decision and decide on our next steps accordingly.

"A significant majority of barley producers is looking for greater marketing choice. I know they will be very disappointed with this decision but I am confident that they will follow the law as it is."


Anonymous said...

The arrogance of those farmers who believe they have a right to their own property is astounding! This is Canada for God's sake! Jail the lot of them!

KC said...

I wrote about this on my blog in the spring (http://northernliberal.blogspot.com/2007/03/misusing-regulations-and-how.html). Regulations are for minor tinkering, not for a wholesale reversal of decades of government policy. This was an undemocratic attempt by the Conservatives to do through the backdoor what they couldnt do through the front. They didn't have the votes in Parliament so they tried to undermine its will through regulation. They are doing the same thing with the gun registry. The courts rightly slapped them down.

Eric said...

The Liberals definately won't win a lot of votes on this issue in my humble opinion, but neither will the Tories.

Rural farmers largely support a mixed system, where they have the option to sell to the Wheat Board or sell their barley elsewhere. Farmers in Ontario and elsewhere don't give a hoot cuz they aren't affected, what they might understand however, is some city judge ruling against an already completed plebiscite of their opinions.

So its a zero sum game, no one gains much and the Tories get another reason to point and shout 'we can't do anything until we get a majority'...

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

The issue is less whether one agrees with the Tories or not, but more how they did it. I do happen to support a dual marketing system like Ontario has, but also believe one should only be implemented if parliament votes for it, which won't happen and considering how much I despise the Tories overall, I am not going to vote for them to help them get this issue passed.

In addition a fairer question agreed to by all parties probably could have solved the issue too.

Anonymous said...

The law has been an impediment to Harper, Reform and the entire myopic, ill-educated, sanctimonious lot of them that have spawned on the prairies like locusts for several generations. This isn't the first time Harper and Co. have walked around and over the law and doubtless, it won't be the last because democracy for their ilk, from Hitler to Amin to Steve, is simply a tool to usurp power from the people.

Anonymous said...

Strahl's problem - acting like a mafia thug.

There are right and wrong ways to do things - Strahl's position has gotten to his head and good honest common sense is gone.

But, that's the way Harper has been doing things all along - get it done - whether it's legal, constitutionally okay or incomplete. Get it done.

And, do the opposite of whatever the Liberals did - whether it made sense or not.

You can't run a government on pettiness and vindictiveness - you have to do what is a good plan (no matter who came up with it) and what's good for Canada - not what's good to Harper's venom and hatred.

Scotian said...

Steve V:

Expect to hear wailings about how this is an activist court decision any time now...it is after all how NA conservatives deal with any court ruling they disapprove of regardless of whether there is any basis for such a criticism (which generally there is not). It is nice to see our courts are not willing to just roll over and let our government run rampant over the law, unlike what we have seen in the USA as of late. However, if we leave Harper and his kind of Conservatives in charge for any length of time with majority then that will likely change. We know that his role models deliberately and systematically turned the non-partisan justice system of the USA into a partisan tool of the GOP for winning elections and imposing their ideology onto the nation regardless of whether/how it conflicts with precedent and Constitutional principles. So it is not unreasonable to fear a similar approach here, especially given Harper's history regarding his rhetoric and supposedly activist Canadian courts including believing in a decades long conspiracy to make gay marriage legal by appointing sympathetic to the gay agenda judges dating back to the Trudeau years as he said on Politics with Don Newman in the summer of 2003.

Yet again we see the results of CPC government showing a decided lack of understanding of how our government actually is set up to work as opposed to how they would prefer it to work. Not to mention contempt for Parliament whenever it will not do whatever they want, which given they are one of if not the weakest minority government in our history is really telling about how they view power. Not to mention how much contempt they hold for the supermajority of Canadians that did not vote for the CPC and the Canada that these voters prefer to see/live in, which is clearly shown by their preferences in voting over the last several decades, a progressive Canada and not a regressive one like the CPC clearly desires.

Oxford County Liberals said...

Scotian: The wails are already starting on progressive and Liblogs blogs that are hailing this decision.

A Court tells Harper and Strahl they need to follow the law and do changes to the Wheat Board thru Parliament, the supreme legal institution of the land and for the people rather then do an undemocratic end-around of it, and all we hear is Cons telling us how its activist Liberal judges who are unelected thwarting the will of the people??

They apparently fail to see the contradiction, or choose not to.

Anonymous said...

Are they dumb, extra-partisan or just plain bashing.

The decision wasn't about whether or not there should be a wheat board - it was about the "thug" methods used to demolish it.

What is their problem in seeing it for what it was?

lance said...

anon-o-idiot said: "The law has been an impediment to Harper, Reform and the entire myopic, ill-educated, sanctimonious lot of them that have spawned on the prairies like locusts for several generations."

No wonder you don't leave a name. Words like that around my place would get you in the hospital faster than you could say, "but I'm a pacifist."

We get that some of you Ontario folks feel like plantation owners.

Us'en slaves uh'll jess git on wif the werk and lef duh tinking to you e'sterner folks. You's no whey better'n us fo' us.


northwestern_lad said...

lance... please can the "oh, I'm a poor Westerner" bit at home... It doesn't matter what side of the issue that you are on with this judgement. The judge didn't say anything about the idea, it was just the simple fact that Harper and his group decided to circumvent the democratic process. If the Liberals tried a similar stunt on any other issue that you didn't like, you'd be screaming bloody murder.

If you think that you should get to circumvent democracy to get what you want, then maybe you should move somewhere that doesn't enjoy democracy.

lance said...

I'll keep my attitude at home when foreigners stop writing things like anon-o-idiot's, "myopic, ill-educated, sanctimonious lot of them that have spawned on the prairies like locusts".

Politics aside, IMO, the judge was mistaken. We've all seen the arguments for and against the decision. Partisans for and against "oddly enough" come down similar to political lines.

Alberta: 28 CPC, 0 Lib, 0 NDP
Sask: 12 CPC, 2 Lib, 0 NDP
Manitoba: 8 CPC, 3 Lib, 3 NDP

I want to see what the opposition does when/if the CPC tables the legislation and/or makes the CWB an election issue . . . _again_.

northwestern_lad said...

lance, I apologize for the rash start to my previous response. I grew up within spitting distance of the Prairies on the Ontario/Manitoba boarder, and I know that the system has it's issues. I guess using the West vs. East rhetoric doesn't really change anything. I would hope that all Canadians, Westerners included, could agree that this should be done in a democratic way. If we allow the democratic process to be ignored on this issue, we've set a dangerous precedent. Who knows what this or any other government might try to if this approach is allowed to stand.

I also think this approach by Harper sends a message to the rest of the country that he doesn't believe that he can accomplish his goals within the democratic process.

Oxford County Liberals said...


There is support for the CWB in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.. I'd expect the CPC to lose seats if theytried to make it an election issue, once we highlight all of Strahl and Harper's dishonesty in this entire process.

Steve V said...

Further to Scott's point, if memory serves, a full majority favored keeping the CWB in it's current state, in Manitoba, despite the manipulative phrasing of the questions.