The milk wars


The Dairy Farmers of Canada are not impressed with Martha Hall Findlay. The Conservatives at least attempted to register their dismay yesterday, while the New Democrats issued the following release this morning.

Conservatives have put Canada’s supply management on the table in trade talks – and now we see some Liberals openly opposing our supply managed sectors, according to NDP International Trade Critic Don Davies. “New Democrats have a clear and strong policy: Canada’s supply managed sectors provide clear benefits to Canadians and will not be compromised, in trade talks or otherwise”, insisted Davies. He pointed out that supply management in Canada’s dairy, poultry and egg industries is a tested system for efficient delivery of safe, local food to Canadians. Davies said that, unlike other countries who subsidize their producers, Canada’s supply management policy doesn’t cost taxpayers a cent.

NDP Agriculture Critic Malcolm Allen added his concerns of what any concessions could mean for these important industries. “By putting supply management in the cross hairs of these negotiations, the Conservative government is attacking the livelihood of dairy, poultry and egg farmers right across the country; farmers who expect this government to live up to its word.”

Deputy NDP Agriculture Critic Ruth Ellen Brosseau added that supply-managed products are competitively priced, with Canadian milk costing less than Australia and New Zealand – and in the US taxpayers subsidize milk. “New Democrats will continue to stand up strongly for the dairy, poultry and egg sectors, important industries that employs thousands of people,” said Brosseau.

Dan Arnold considers the implications for the Liberal leadership race. BJ Siekierski scours Ms. Hall Findlay’s previous public comments on supply management. Her full report is here.


The milk wars

  1. If Harper does nothing else in office, I hope he rids us of this supply management racket we’ve had for so long.

  2. It always blows my mind how, time and time again, the NDP comes in favour of producers over consumers. Yet they continue to tell themselves and everybody else that the NDP is the “party of the little guy” that “stands up for ordinary Canadians.” They ignore the obvious contradiction there. Many core NDP policies do nothing for consumers, and in fact hurt consumers while benefiting producers, vested powerful interests and other rent-seekers (like the powerful dairy lobby).
    As a result, I’ve always thought there’s an opening politically for a party that would consistently come out in favour of consumers’ interests. Consider, e.g., the way Canadian consumers are royally screwed in terms of cell phone bills compared to other countries.

    • If the marketing boards are disbanded and individual farmers are back on their own competing with Americans won’t Canada have match the huge American agriculture subsidies, or will we just let them go under? Pork and beef aren’t under supply management, but do they have some tariff protection or more hidden subsidies?

  3. if the system gets thrown out taxpayers will be paying for the government to subsidize faiths like they did beef and pork producers. Never before has the dairy industry required gov help. Also the milk quality and safety standards will have to decrease to be able to prooduce and process milk cheap enough to compete on the global market. We need this system for our health and our economy! They compare this to removing australias supply system removal in early 2000s and say it went well but their prices are $0.10 higher than ours per liter of milk even without the system!!

    • Subsidized American milk will flood Canada at low prices until the Ontario Milk Marketing Board for example is pretty much out of business and a monopoly is established then the prices will be back up.
      These soft comfortable professors at U of Calgary don’t take it that far.They say it’s all about poor consumers getting better prices, and the gullible media lap it up like it’s some great social advancement being led by Tommy Douglas. Pathetic.

      • Unfortunately that is not the case. American dairys have to be big to survive in the global market reducing the human/cow relationship (how well the herdsman Knows his cows) and causing smaller farms to go bankrupt and raising unemployment rates… The quota and supply management systems prevent this.

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