Second suit seeks damages from monopoly’s end

A second group will seek to bring a class-action lawsuit against the federal government to win compensation for farmers over the end of the Canadian Wheat Board’s grain-marketing monopoly.

The group, called Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board, will file its claim seeking compensation for the CWB’s physical assets, such as rail cars, as well as intangibles like the monopoly’s value in bringing price premiums to farmers, said lawyer Anders Bruun.

Grandview, Manitoba, area farmer Larry Bohdanovich said in a release that “it is clear that the Harper government is pursuing a policy of confiscation without either consultation or compensation. This is totally unacceptable and Prairie farmers will not take this lying down.”

Saskatchewan lawyer Tony Merchant launched a $15.4-billion lawsuit against Ottawa on behalf of western Canadian farmers over the CWB recently. Bruun said a judge will eventually choose between the two lawsuits. Neither has court certification yet.

The class actions are not expected to have any impact on the government’s new law to create an open market, although former CWB directors are challenging the law’s validity in a separate action.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz called Merchant’s lawsuit “baseless.”

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