Friday, June 6, 2008

Wheat board to tell court that federal ban on advertising is unconstitutional

WINNIPEG — Lawyers for the federal government and the Canadian Wheat Board are about to engage in another battle over the board's future.

The grain marketing agency wants the Federal Court of Canada to settle a dispute over whether wheat board money can be used to help pay for lobbying efforts to maintain the board's monopoly on barley sales.

The board is asking the Federal Court to overturn a 2006 federal cabinet order that prevents the board from spending money to advocate its position.

The ban on advertising amounts to a gag order and is unconstitutional, the board argues.

"The government has been actively promoting its position and says the wheat board is not to respond to issues. We just feel that's wrong," board chairman Larry Hill said Thursday.

The government has said the board should remain neutral and not spend farmers' money on political advocacy.

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