Commentaries by the Farmers themselves:

On December 4th, 2002 the last of the farmers were released from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre.

First and foremost we would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt appreciation for all the support and contributions we received from all across Canada and indeed the world!  Also a special thank you to all the media for the terrific exposure they have given this event over the past months.

We would like to take this time to clarify some of the misunderstandings and misconceptions that have come up regarded the offenses.

I think itís the publicís perception that the Farmers For Justice border crossing in 1996 was essentially illegal and that it just shouldnít be illegal to sell what you produce.

Although we certainly agree with the latter, we believe the criminal offenses either had no basis in law, or were done prior to Ralph Goodaleís Order in Council.  We want the public to realize that the only Farmers For Justice border crossing done after the Order in Council was done in Alberta on July 10th, 1996.

The illegality of the July crossing is dubious at best.  The CWB has no legislative authority to charge farmers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba large amounts of money to obtain export permits.  Itís simply CWB policy.  We spent 35 days in a Lethbridge Correctional Centre for simply violating policy!

The vehicle seizures were strictly a civil matter (i.e. to sue for damages, never resulting in incarceration).  These civil vehicle seizures are still outstanding and we spent 35 days in the Lethbridge Correctional Centre to satisfy three (3) criminal offences:

  1. Section 3 of the Reporting of Exported Goods regulation under 95.1 of the Customs Act: Failure to report in writing;
  2. Section 5 of the Reporting of Exported Goods Regulation under 95.1 of the Customs Act: Failure to provide an export permit to the Chief Officer of Customs;
  3. Section 114 of the Customs Act: Failure to place a seized vehicle into the custody of a Customs Officer.

The vehicle seizure was a civil matter, but failure to turn the vehicle over to customs was considered criminal.

The Section 3 offence has no basis in law, as per documentation obtained through Access to Information.  Customs Investigator Mike Hadley stated in an Ottawa meeting, the difficulty with a Section 3 charge is that exactly what constitutes a report in writing has never been specified, published or Gazetted. The Crown knew this all along, refused to disclose it to the accused and continued to prosecute along those lines.

The Section 5 offense was rendered null and void as per the acquittal of David Sawatzky on May 17th, 1996.  Within 15 minutes of the Sawatzky decision Ralph Goodale introduced an Order in Council to amend this legislation.  Shouldnít all offences prior to the new Order in Council be dismissed?  Did the Crown prosecutor and the judiciaries create offenses after the fact?

Section 114.  Be careful to note this offence hinges on failure to place a SEIZED vehicle in the custody of a customs officer.  Remember, the vehicle seizures are a civil matter and be aware that the legality of the seizure has never been established.

For 6Ĺ years all the farmers have been denied the right to defend ourselves against these seizure offenses.

Revenue Canada Customs has TAKEN possession of the vehicles that werenít removed, they have TAKEN the money paid in lieu of the seizure.  Customs has TAKEN our vehicles and our money, and refused to allow us to defend ourselves in the courtroom.

These seizures were not able to be appealed in the courts, but were appealed to the Minister of National Revenue.  Should the Minister of National Revenue deem the seizures legal, we will be able to continue on to the Federal Court.  On the other hand, should the seizures be deemed to be illegal, Customs must return the vehicles and the money.

You guessed it!  The minister of National Revenue has refused to issue a decision since 1996, blocking our access to Federal Court!!

So the legalities of the seizures have not been established.  How can you be found guilty of failing to place a seized vehicle in the custody of customs (sec 114) if the legality of the seizure has never been established?

20 years ago, we were considered innocent until proven guilty.  Since the implementation of the GST, we have come guilty until we can prove our innocence.  Now we canít even get into the court room to prove it.

If this government, itís minister and crown prosecutors can create offenses that result in 13 Alberta farmers going to jail, then this government will put anyone in jail.

Will Revenue Canada Customs ever give these vehicles back?  Will we be allowed to defend ourselves in a court of law?  Will we be required to spend an additional 35 days in jail to satisfy the civil offences?

The fight for freedom is never free!!

Freedom Lives where Justice Rules
Without Justice there can be no Law
Without Law there can be no Freedom


Here is a list of the farmers and their penalties.

Gary Brandt, 33, of Viking, faced 62 days in jail. He took a bag of wheat across the border, forgot about it and ended up carrying it back into Canada.

Ron Duffy, 50, from Lacombe, faced 68 days in jail. He took one bag across the border, then a commercial quantity of wheat across the line.

Jim Chatenay, 59, from Penhold, faced 62 days in jail. He took a bushel of wheat to the U.S. and donated it to a 4-H club.

Martin Hall, 42, from Vulcan, faced 131 days in jail. He took a semi-trailer full of wheat across the border and sold it.

Rod Hanger, 32, from Three Hills, faced 75 days in jail. He took a commercial load of wheat across the border and sold it.

Noel Hyslip, 42, from Vulcan, faced 131 days in jail. He took a semi-trailer full of wheat across the border and sold it.

Ike Lanier, 72, from Lethbridge, faced 60 days in jail. He trucked 300 bushels across the border.

Bill Moore, 63, from Red Deer, faced 131 days in jail. He donated a bag of wheat to a 4-H Club, then took a half-ton truck of wheat across the border.

Jim Ness, 58, from New Brigden, faced 25 days in jail. He drove 100 lbs. of barley across the border and donated it to the 4-H Club.

Mark Peterson, 42, from Cereal, faced 124 days in jail. He hauled a truckload of wheat across the border.

Rick Strankman, 49, from Altario, faces 180 days in jail. He took 756 bushels of wheat across the border and sold it for $1.50 per bushel higher than the Canadian price.

John Turcato, 42, from Taber, faced 131 days in jail. He drove 900 bushels of barley across the border.

Darren Winczura, 35, from Viking, faced 24 days in jail. He drove a bag of wheat across the border.