Monday, December 19, 2011

Canuckistan over the Rideau River?

Good Day Readers:

Spent Friday at The Law Courts primarily covering the Wheat Board's latest challenge but found time during adjournments to look in on another couple cases. Courtroom 120 - a sentencing trial for a husband/wife team convicted of trafficking in crack cocaine (Regina versus Martel, Galbraith - Justice Chris W. Martin); Courtroom 214 -Hearing for a Defendant accused of assault with a deadly weapon and assault causing bodily harm - Regina versus Abraham, Bird Vanal - Justice Colleen Suche).

The CWB proceeding began at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 114 before Queen's Bench Justice Shane I. Perlmutter.
Shane I. Perlmutter Appointed a Judge (February 3, 2011) of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench

Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP (TDS) partner Shane I. Perlmutter has been appointed a Judge of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench. Shane commenced his practice with TDS in 1997 and has been a partner since 2000. Shane’s practice focused primarily on civil litigation and administrative law with emphasis on insurance and health law in which he earned the respect of clients and colleagues as thoughtful, fair and trusted counsel. The partners, associates and staff of TDS extend our congratulations to Shane as he embarks on another stage in his career in the law.

Anyone wishing to contact Shane regarding legal matters or other matters should contact the firm’s CEO and Managing Partner Donald Douglas. Don can be reached at (204) 934.2466 or by Email at

Justice Perlmutter began by self-disclosing he previously worked for TDS which has represented clients in cases both for and against the Canadian Wheat Board but had no direct involvement in them. Collin McCarthy representing the CWB Diretors immediately moved to have Justice Perlmutter recuse himself which he refused to do.

After both sides presented significant documentation, Justice Perlmutter adjourned proceedings until 2:00 p.m. to consider the material. After hearing arguments court was again recessed until 5:30 at which time Justice Perlmutter returned to deliver his decision.

During the adjournments rumours began swirling layoffs notices had started at CWB headquarters in Winnipeg. There was also talk of a couple more legal challenges being filled possibly as early as January of next year.

The session was well attended by lawyers and those with ties to the grain trade.

Clare L. Pieuk
Injunction to stall CWB law refused

By: Larry Kusch
Saturday, December 17, 2011

Ottawa's newly minted law eliminating the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly powers to market Prairie wheat and barley has survived its first legal challenge.

Late Friday, a Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench judge denied a motion by eight former Wheat Board Directors that would have temporarily prevented the Harper government from implementing the new law, which received Royal Assent Thursday.

"I am not satisfied that there is sufficient urgency to justify the consideration of an interim injunction at this stage," Justice Shane Perlmutter ruled. He will hear more detailed arguments on an injunction against the controversial law in Winnipeg January 17-18.

For now, the Harper government's Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act (Bill C-18) remains in effect.

Earlier Friday, at a rally with supporters on a farm near Regina, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz celebrated the passage of the new law.

"This feels damn good. It's been a long time coming," he said of the government's long fight to end the Wheat Board's single desk. "First, they said it shouldn't be done. Then they said it couldn't be done. And then they said it wouldn't be done because they'll take us to court," he said of the naysayers.

Nine days earlier, a Federal Court judge ruled Ritz broke the law when he introduced Bill C-18 without first holding a vote of Prairie grain growers. But the judge did not rule on the legality of the bill itself.

Ottawa announced it would appeal the Federal Court decision and pressed on with passage of C-18.

One provision of the new law is the immediate removal of the CWB's farmer-elected Directors, who fought the legislation. The Wheat Board is now run by five federally appointed Directors, giving the Harper government control of the grain-seller's operations.

With the new law in effect, the Wheat Board withdrew as a plaintiff in Friday's court action, leaving eight former farmer-Directors to fight the legislation on their own.

Perlmutter could still grant an injunction against the new law next month, when he hears more detailed arguments. But he wasn't persuaded Friday to do so immediately.

It could take as long as a year for the Court of Queen's Bench to hear a motion by the former Directors to declare the marketing-freedom law invalid.

Ottawa intends to end the Wheat Board's sales monopoly next August 1. In the interim, it is allowing the private grain trade to contract with farmers on next year's wheat and barley crops.

CWB President and CEO Ian White issued a statement Friday assuring farmers the Board will continue to market farmers' grain if they wish. "We will work to achieve the best prices for farmers and superior service for customers in Canada and around the world," he said.


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