Thursday, October 27, 2011

Canadian White Board: Still Making Up the Rules As They Go Along

CWB determined to maintain its own power, no matter what

The farce perpetually surrounding the Canadian Wheat Board has reached an impressive new high in

"This Harper government has acted illegally and unethically in its attacks on the Canadian Wheat Board and it must be stopped," declared Canadian Wheat Board chairman Allen Oberg. "We have no choice but to take this stand on behalf of farmers. We will not be intimidated by bullying tactics."

A Wheat Board chairman lecturing anyone on bullying is itself a spectacle in unintentional comedy. It was, after all, the Wheat Board that had farmers jailed for daring to demand the right to market their own grain. But what's most remarkable about this most recent episode is the extent to which the CWB is willing to go in order to make up the rules as it goes along.

In 2007, the Wheat Board won a challenge against an attempt by the federal government to remove the Board's monopoly on barley marketing by claiming that any change to the board had to made through an act of Parliament.

Now, the board is claiming that the changes can only be made following a plebiscite among grain farmers. A plebiscite not unlike, say, the one held in 2007 when farmers voted to eliminate the CWB's barley monopoly.

The CWB itself has already shown that it's opinion is that the results of any plebiscite don't matter, and that it could act however it pleased. Now that the government is poised to ignore the results of a plebiscite the CWB set up to support the maintenance its own tyrannical powers, it suddenly insists that the will of farmers must be respected.

In order to do this, they're willing to go back on the legal arguments they've already offered, and insist that it really should be left up to farmers. Unless farmers want something the board doesn't want. In which case, the will of farmers should be ignored.

The Wheat Board has already cast its die on this matter: they cast it in 2007. It's time for a Canadian court to stand up and finally make the CWB play by the rules as they are, not the rules it desperately wants to make up as it goes along.

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