Maxine Bernier, candidate for the leadership of the Conservative party, has sent an open letter praising the criticisms against Canada’s dairy supply management raised by U.S. President Donald Trump.
Trump has called supply management unfair to U.S. dairy farmers and has made it a target in negotiations for a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Bernier in his open letter said:
“I agree with you that this protectionist system is unfair for the farmers in Wisconsin and other states, who cannot make a better living by selling their products to their Canadian neighbours.
“But you will excuse me if I say I am mostly sorry for a much larger group: the 35 million Canadians who are paying on average twice as much as they should for their eggs, chicken and dairy products.
“Canadian families, especially low-income ones with children, suffer because of the hundreds of dollars in extra cost they need to pay each year to support this system. Isn’t it unfair?
“I’m also sorry for the Canadian producers protected from competition by this cartel. It’s actually very unfair for some of them, too.
“They have to pay $24,000 to $40,000 a cow to their protection racket for a piece of paper giving them the right to produce a certain quantity of milk – and that’s before paying for the cow itself!
“Even when they run a very efficient farm, they cannot grow and sell to foreign markets. That’s the price to pay for not allowing foreigners to sell here.
“And finally, I think it’s very unfair that in order to keep a system that favours less than 10 per cent of Canadian farmers, our government has not been able to negotiate better trade deals for the other 90 per cent of farmers, or for other industrial sectors looking to export their goods,” Bernier’s letter says.
Canadian dairy farmers have been countering that the U.S. dairy policy results in surplus production that drives down prices and that’s what’s unfair.