Politicians stand behind owner of Bryson Farms
Published Thursday, June 19, 2008 7:28PM EDT
The federal Liberals and the NDP have thrown their support behind the owner of the region's largest organic farm after he learned Thursday that Canada's top court won't hear his case.
Stuart Collins, the founder of Shawville's Bryson Farms, is facing extradition to the United States on fraud charges. As part of his bail conditions, Collins turned himself in to police on Wednesday.
It's not Collins' organic farm business that has him in trouble with the law, though -- it's his past life as a lawyer in Texas.
- Listen to the entire interview with Stuart Collins from his jail cell
Collins' lawyer John Norris appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada to hear Collins' case and keep him in the country but the court denied that request on Thursday.
Now, Norris says he's made a request to federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to review the case in hopes the extradition order will be overturned.
Both the Liberals and the NDP tabled petitions in the House of Commons on Thursday, in an effort to keep Collins in Canada.
"That's huge. . . positive things finally," said Collins' son Bryson, who describes the last few days as hell.
Future of Bryson Farms at risk
Now, the successful business Collins and his partner have built near Shawville, Que. hangs on his release, along with 50 jobs the farm provides to an area that's desperate for employment.
"If Stuart goes, the farm goes. It's that simple. He's the heartbeat of the farm and without Stuart Collins, there's no Bryson Farms," farm co-founder Terry Stewart told CTV Ottawa.
Collins' customers are doing their part by writing petitions and urging the federal justice minister to overturn Collins' extradition order.
Collins, who spoke to CTV Ottawa from his jail cell on Thursday, says he's overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.
"It's just been an absolute tidal wave of support and we're absolutely grateful to have it," Collins said.
Collins' lawyer has arranged for a bail hearing for his client on Wednesday in Toronto.
Three busloads of people will be travelling from Shawville to Toronto to support Collins in his fight.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Joanne Schnurr