Harper Government Applauds Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Ruling on the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act

Ottawa, Ontario, February 24, 2012 – Marketing Freedom continues to reign across Western Canada following a ruling by the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench today that upheld the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act.

"Western farmers are pleased with the Court's decision today," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "Our Government knows that producers need market certainty as they move forward and this decision allows farmers the best possible opportunities to succeed as they transition to an open market."

The Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act is now law and farmers can forward contract their wheat and barley with buyers of their choice for delivery beginning August 1, 2012. The CWB also remains a viable, voluntary marketing option for farmers of all commodities in all parts of Canada. Giving Western Canadian farmers marketing freedom will build a stronger overall economy by attracting investment, encouraging innovation and creating value-added jobs.

"We are working with farmers, the grain value chain, the CWB and provincial partners to ensure an orderly transition to a dual-marketing system that encourages entrepreneurs to seize new markets, increase sales, and drive the economy," added Minister Ritz. "The Harper Government remains focused on doing what is best for the agricultural sector by giving farmers the right to choose how they market their grain."

In his decision, the judge accepted the Crown's arguments in their entirety and found that the requirement for a producer plebiscite (section 47.1 of the former Canadian Wheat Board Act) did not apply to the new Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act (Bill C-18).

On December 16, 2011, the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench denied the initial request for an immediate injunction on the implementation of the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act.

The Government's top priority remains the economy, and Canada's agriculture industry plays an important role in creating jobs and keeping our economy strong. Modernizing grain policy in Canada will allow the Western Canadian grain industry to contribute even more to economic growth through the entrepreneurial energy of wheat and barley farmers.

Additional information can be found at www.agr.gc.ca/freedom.

For more information, media may contact:

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972

Meagan Murdoch
Director of Communications
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
613-773-1059

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