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CWB plans lawsuit defence

The Canadian Wheat Board will tell its side of the story on the Hudye Farms lawsuit Dec. 14.

That’s the deadline for the board to file its statement of defence in the $50 million plus lawsuit launched by the Norquay, Sask., farm business.

The case is being heard in Court of Queen’s Bench in Yorkton, Sask.

The lawsuit claims the board acted improperly earlier this year in a dispute with the company over the delivery of an ineligible variety of wheat.

The contract was downgraded and eventually voided under rules governing eligible varieties of Canada Western Red Spring wheat.

The company denies there was any ineligible variety in the shipments in question, saying test results from the Canadian Grain Commission provided a clean bill of health.

It is asking for recovery of $247,699 plus interest for improper loss of income and additional expenses related to CWB actions and legal costs.

It’s also claiming damages from the board totalling $25 million for damage to its reputation from “false and defamatory” public statements allegedly made by the board regarding Hudye’s business, along with $10 million for breach of fiduciary duty and $15 million in exemplary and punitive damages.

CWB spokesperson Maureen Fitzhenry said the marketing agency won’t make any comments about the case before filing the statement of defence, other than to deny that the board has done anything improper.

Braden Hudye, spokesperson for Hudye Farms, said the timing of the lawsuit, launched during the CWB directors’ election campaign, is coincidental.

The issue was first raised with the CWB back in the spring, and after the two sides were unable to negotiate a settlement, it went to court.

“The timing just worked out this way,” he said.” I think it’s a good coincidence.”

Meanwhile, Hudye has launched a new website, www.cwbandme.com, as a forum for producers to exchange stories about dealing with the CWB and other grain marketing issues.

“With the attention this issue is getting, from the election and the lawsuit, we want people to have the opportunity to share their views,” he said.

Access to the site is free and early response from producers has been good, he said, adding people are free to express their opinions.

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