OTTAWA -- The Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Council of Canadians have been granted intervener status in the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board's legal challenge in defence of the Canadian Wheat Board. Food Secure Canada and ETC Group were also granted the right to intervene.
The federal government is pushing forward to end the CWB's single desk authority, against the wishes of the majority of Canadian farmers. PSAC and the Council argue that dismantling the CWB will have not only have an adverse affect on farmers, but will undermine Canadian food security and safety as well.
The Council of Canadians affidavit notes that, "the Canadian Wheat Board and its supply-management mechanisms exist to protect Canadian farmers from the prejudiced impacts of international trade agreements such as NAFTA... The Council of Canadians opposes the Canadian government's undemocratic efforts to dismantle the CWB and further open doors to profit-seeking agribusiness corporations by removing the rights of farmers to control their markets... The Council of Canadians believes the actions of the Federal government in this matter will have far reaching and adverse consequences for all Canadians, not just wheat and barley farmers."
The Council maintains that if the CWB's single desk is eliminated, it will be impossible to reinstate it later under NAFTA's trade rules.
"With this attack on the Canadian Wheat Board, Stephen Harper is making it clearer than ever that he doesn't like democracy. And he doesn't seem to like farmers either," says Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow. "Unilaterally removing the Canadian Wheat Board's single desk authority would be undemocratic and would not be in the best interest of Canadian farmers or the public."
PSAC maintains that by hampering the CWB, the federal government will be putting the safety of Canada's food supply at risk. The union represents workers at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Canadian Wheat Board and the Canadian Grain Commission.
It is the view of PSAC members who are experts in grain inspection, storage and shipment that the reputation of Canada for producing and exporting grain of the highest quality will suffer irreparable damage as a result of the dissolution of the Canadian Wheat Board.
"Farmers and the workers at the CWB are well-equipped to know what's good for their industry and for Canadian consumers," says John Gordon, National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. "Our union is committed to fighting Bill C-18 and protecting the interests of farmers and Canadian food safety."