As spring officially passes into summer, the saga of the Canadian Wheat Board drags on becoming the Prairie version of ‘The Never Ending Story’.
Actually this has become a story which more and more seems to be something concocted by Hollywood and not something you’d expect perpetrated by a government.
Certainly there are enough villains to go around in this one, although a bit like the fabled Hatfields and McCoys feud, who exactly the bad guys depend a lot on the side of the feud you are viewing it from.
And certainly there are enough plot turns to make Robert Ludlum proud.
And like a lot of the fare coming out of Hollywood these days, the ending of this story is clear too.
There remains an effort by some farmers to stall the ending, and force a sequel to be written, but ultimately the single desk sales agency for Prairie wheat, durum and designated barley is dead.
The premise held by many that the Stephen Harper government was heavy-handed and best and at worst were illegal in how they changed the system, will matter not in the long run in terms of the Canadian Wheat Board.
Should the court challenge, currently being appealed by a farm group, overturn the federal government process it will only mean Harper and company have to go through the process in a way which meets legislation, and then make the change since a farm vote will not be binding regardless of the results.
And with the majority we gave the Conservatives in the last election they can eventually make their change.
As it now stands the Federal Court of Appeal’s struck down Justice Campbell’s December 7, 2011 ruling where he found that Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz had acted outside of the rule of law by bringing forward legislation that destroyed the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk without first conducting a farmer vote.
The Court of Appeal ruling now faces a further appeal that if successful will put the matter before the Supreme Court for a final decision.
It would speak volumes on the character of our federal government if the highest court in the land ruled against them, but would do little to preserve single desk selling.
Whether a proponent of the Canadian Wheat Board, or not, it has become time farmers recognize the change is inevitable.
Sadly in a democracy we often live with changes that are are not immediately popular, and many which are proven to be just bad moves. Does anyone remember the Gross Revenue Insurance Program (GRIP)? Never widely desired and ultimately proven a terrible program, it is an example of what can transpire when government knows best above all.
Time will tell whether the CWB decision was a wise one, or one done simply for the sake of Conservative government arrogance.
But either way it is a change that is going to happen, whether on Aug. 1, or a year down the road because of a court decision. That is the ultimate end to this story.
Calvin Daniels is Assistant Editor with Yorkton This Week.