© AgMedia Inc
by BETTER FARMING STAFF
The government lawyer who released the names of the producers who signed a petition resulting in a Farm Products Marketing Commission hearing last summer into the marketing powers of Ontario Pork has warned that the names can’t be disclosed to the media.
“I wish to remind the parties that they are bound by a deemed undertaking to use the documents that they receive by way of disclosure in a proceeding solely for the purpose of the proceeding,” wrote Sara Blake, counsel for the Farm Products Marketing Commission, in an email accompanying the documents to the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal Thursday. “In particular this means that parties are deemed to have given an undertaking not to disclose to the press either the documents or the information contained in them.”
Blake did not respond to repeated telephone calls requesting an explanation.
“I know I didn’t give an undertaking,” says Elbert van Donkersgoed, agent representing Glencoe pork producer Rein Minnema, who is appealing the Commission’s Oct. 6 decision to end Ontario Pork’s monopoly powers. “I don’t know what this legally means for me.”
Last Friday Tribunal vice-chair Marthanne Robson ordered the Commission to release the names. Van Donkersgoed brought forward the motion to release the documents.
“I don’t understand the basis” for the ongoing confidentiality, says Robert Shapiro, counsel for Huron Pork Producers Association, appellants in a Tribunal hearing into the Farm Products Marketing Commission’s decision last October to end Ontario Pork’s marketing powers.
No one at Ontario Pork was available to comment early this afternoon. BF