Five years after the end of the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly, a group of farmers that fought to keep the CWB’s single desk is back in court seeking a new class action lawsuit.
Andrew Dennis, a farmer from Brookdale, Man., has filed a Statement of Claim with the Court of Queen’s Bench in Winnipeg for a class action on behalf of all farmers who delivered wheat and barley to the CWB during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 crop years.
“When we were reviewing the CWB’s Annual Reports for 2010/11 and 2011/12, it appeared that $145 million, which should have been paid to farmers as part of their final payment, had been withheld and transferred to the CWB’s Contingency Fund,” said Dennis in a statement published by the CWB Alliance on Monday.
Another $5.9 million was withdrawn from the CWB’s pool accounts and should’ve been paid to farmers, he alleges.
On top of the $151 million Dennis says is owed to producers, he’s seeking $10 million in punitive damages.
The application names the federal government and the company that acquired the CWB’s assets, under G3 Global Grain Group and G3 Limited, as defendants.
“This claim is about establishing accountability for the disposition of the Canadian Wheat Board, allocating financial responsibility to the appropriate parties, and ultimately getting any funds recovered back to prairie farmers,” said Swift Current-area farmer Stewart Wells, chair of the Friends of the CWB.
The CWB Alliance says counsel for Dennis, led by Winnipeg-lawyer Anders Bruun, will be seeking leave to discontinue an earlier Federal Court proceeding in favour of the Manitoba Court class action on May 15th.