Sunday, September 18, 2016

Dairy farm leaders defy challengers

As the late Eugene Whelan used to say when he was federal agriculture minister "A blind man on a galloping horse could see this coming."

A challenge by other countries' dairy farmers to the Canadian proposals to export surplus skim milk powders, that is.

A notice of intention to take Canada to the World Trade Organization court comes from dairy farmer organizations in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and the European Union.

They are, I think, rightfully irate at the blatant Canadian violation of international trade rules.
Canada has always insisted when it came to world trade negotiations that the practice of supply management here means there is no export threat from Canadians.

The objectors say they will file a “dispute settlement proceeding against Canada, once the agreement details are announced.”

Susan Mann reports that "they could have a long wait for those details. 
"Peter Gould, Dairy Farmers of Ontario chief executive officer and general manager, said the agreement is one that involves commercial activity between farmers and processors “and I don’t think it necessarily has to be made public.”

Really, now! 

Isn't that a high-handed answer about as subtle as a poke in the eye.

At the very least, this kind of stance is going to result in a long and expensive  set of proceedings at the World Trade Organization. 

It is also going to seriously damage Canadian credibility.

And because of that, this is something that ought to prompt the Canadian public and politicians to discipline the dairy farmers.