The Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board (FCWB) on September 18th announced that they have launched a second lawsuit in response to the Harper government’s attempt to rig the Canadian Wheat Board director elections in favour of anti-CWB candidates.
In reviewing the rules governing the five CWB director elections currently in progress across the prairies, the Friends uncovered another illegal move by the Harper government a deliberate and blatant move to circumvent the CWB Act and the pursuant regulations which were specifically put in place to ensure a fair, open and inclusive voting process. Consequently, the Friends are compelled once again to initiate legal action against the Harper government on behalf of the thousands of farmers who have been disenfranchised by the government’s actions. As the election process is already underway, the Friends will be asking the Federal Court for an expedited court hearing.
“The Harper government’s latest attack on the CWB is clearly designed to prevent legitimate voters from receiving ballots in the upcoming CWB director elections. As a candidate in these elections, I want all eligible farmers in my district to be allowed to votenot just those that meet criteria picked by the Minister in violation of the law.” said Cam Goff, a grain producer from Hanley, SK.
The Friends point out that the Harper government secretly ordered a similar action in the CWB elections in 2006 which resulted in a third of the eligible voters being denied a ballot unless they were prepared to go through a series of bureaucratic hoops. The government’s move at that time did not become public until Hon. Jack Layton asked a question in the House of Commons halfway through the election process.
“The Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board believe in a democratic and farmer controlled CWB as prescribed in the CWB Act not a Wheat Board that can be sliced and diced by politicians in Ottawa using secret Ministerial Orders, Instructions, and Regulation Changes,” said Stewart Wells, an organic grain producer from Swift Current, SK, and the President of the National Farmers Union. “Democracies are founded on the rule of law and allowing all eligible and legitimate voters to freely exercise their right to vote. The Harper government is not only offside on both counts, but it appears to be taking a step toward aiding and abetting the kind of state-sponsored anarchy one sees in Third World dictatorships by ignoring laws they don’t like.”
Copies of the latest Ministerial Instruction attacking the CWB and the Federal Court Application are available from Anders Bruun, Counsel for the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board.