Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Canada Wheat Board Ruling

All that I have time for today is to discuss the strange little ruling against the harpercons' bill to abolish the Canada Wheat Board.

The ruling says that the Agriculture Minister's introduction of the bill is illegal.

This was a little troubling given that "sean in ottawa" on page 8 of this thread at EnMasse convinced me that it's within Parliament's mandate to unilaterally change its own laws. (Just like Bob Rae was within his rights to unilaterally abrogate contracts with Ontario public sector workers [... which, please, doesn't mean that i agreed with that!!!].) And, that being the case, the beautiful thing about the Left ever winning power under such conditions would mean that (assuming this left-wing government had a spine) it could legislate radical legislation and overturn precedents with just as much carefree abandon.

But "unionist" (who generally rubs me the wrong way) explains it thusly:
I suggest you folks read the court's decision. It didn't invalidate any law. It explicitly doesn't prevent the new legislation from being adopted, nor from having full force and effect if adopted. The existing legislation said that the Minister couldn't table certain changes without consulting the board and the farmers. Parliament passed that condition. The court found that he had indeed tabled legislation without consulting the board and the farmers. It declared that he had violated that law. He did violate that law, while it was still in full force and effect. The court didn't order anyone to do anything further (except awarding costs). So Tobey's concern is understandable, but not in this case.

ETA: The decision is here.

By the way, if the new legislation had been introduced by another Minister, or by a private member's bill, there would have been no violation of the law as far as I can see. It still would have been tyrannical - but not unlawful. It just shows how arrogant the Cons are.
So, it's a queer little ruling, but not that problematic.


Purple library guy said...

I've also seen it pointed out that it's perfectly lawful to amend the Act if you don't happen to be doing so in order to abolish the Wheat Board.
So, their hands weren't actually bound--they could have changed the law so it didn't stop them from abolishing the board without democratic consultation. Once there was no longer a law against it, they could then have gone ahead and abolished the wheat board over the protests of the farmers. But they didn't make that amendment, so it's still the law. While it's still the law, they have to obey it, just like any other law.

Well, in theory--they're making a push to simply ignore it, which would set a precedent of the Cons being above the law which I'm sure will make them happy.

thwap said...


Just a sloppy piece of legislation.

The sort of thing you'd expect from shit-head bullies.

Beijing York said...

Some blogger asked a relevant question: if they are above the law and are moving full steam ahead with this legislation, why are they bothering to appeal the ruling?

thwap said...

Beijing York,

I'd say it's because they're idiots.

Unionist said...

Gee, I'm sorry I usually rub you the wrong way, thwap. Show me the right way and I'll try to oblige!

thwap said...

Since we haven't interacted in years, I hardly think it matters.