Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said the government will appeal the decision and press ahead with the legislation, which it hopes to have in place by August. “The Parliament of Canada alone has the supremacy to enact, amend or repeal any piece of legislation. This is a fundamental feature of democracy,” Mr. Ritz said Wednesday. - Globe and Mail, Dec 7, 2011: Ottawa broke law on Wheat Board, court rules, Federal
Minister Ritz stated further that the Conservatives have a majority and have the authority to make changes as they see fit. The Minister is right on this point, as long as the government is acting within the rule of law. Federal Court Judge Douglas Campbell ruled the government must consult Producers (Farmers) before changing the Canadian Wheat Board, pointing to the rule of law, essentially saying that albeit the executive branch (Government) can write the laws, they must abide by the rule of law when doing so.
Judge Campbell included this quote from another decision, made by the Alberta Court of Appeal, in his decision...
The starting point is this. The greatest achievement through the
centuries in the evolution of democratic governance has been
constitutionalism and the rule of law. The rule of law is not the rule
by laws where citizens are bound to comply with the laws but
government is not. Or where one level of government chooses not to
enforce laws binding another. Under the rule of law, citizens have
the right to come to the courts to enforce the law as against the
executive branch. And courts have the right to review actions by the
executive branch to determine whether they are in compliance with
the law and, where warranted, to declare government action
unlawful. This right in the hands of the people is not a threat to
democratic governance but its very assertion. Accordingly, the
executive branch of government is not its own exclusive arbiter on
whether it or its delegatee is acting within the limits of the law. The
detrimental consequences of the executive branch of government
defining for itself – and by itself – the scope of its lawful power have
been revealed, often bloodily, in the tumult of history.
When government does not comply with the law, this is not merelyRitz and the Conservative government plan to appeal the decision and at the same time pass the bill and have it enacted before Christmas. The decision to proceed with the legislation in this manner is both reckless and potentially harmful. There will be much confusion and its possible the Harper government will lose its appeal. In the mean time Producers will be at a lose as to what to do.
non-compliance with a particular law, it is an affront to the rule of
law itself […]. - Chief Justice Fraser in Reece v Edmonton (City), 2011 ABCA 238 at paragraphs 159 and 160
It does not seem to matter much to this government. They are in a hurry, they have an agenda, and it appears they will implement that agenda come hell or high water. This action will come back to bite Harper and the Conservatives. They have a majority, a majority that must also act legally.
See Federal judge rips Ritz's plans for CWB reform - Canadian Cattlemen