Supply management can’t be compromised

Our system provides quality, profit and supply without the need for subsidies and emergency relief

BY JOE BYRNE

Thanks to the hard work of dairy farmers and our system of supply management, we have a safe supply of quality dairy products for Canadians produced locally, and employing many Islanders at the production, processing and retail level.

The three pillars of supply management include:

1. compensation to dairy farmers based on a cost of production formula;

2. imported dairy products are subject to tariff to prevent over-supply;

3. Canadian dairy farmers produce to fulfill the domestic market.

Some external efforts have been made to skirt around our orderly marketing system through the import of sugar-added cream to make ice cream, or dumping ultra-filtered milk product from the U.S. into the Canadian market for cheese production, to which our federal government has turned a blind eye.

To finalize the Comprehensive Economic Trade and Agreement (CETA), the federal government conceded 4 per cent of the Canadian cheese market to the European Union (EU), and then had to invest hundreds of millions ($350M) to mitigate the negative effects on our farmers. CETA’s tariff reductions took effect just over a year ago on Sept. 21, 2017 in a deal signed by Prime Minister Trudeau.

Our system provides quality, profit and supply without the need for subsidies and emergency relief when the market collapses according to the economic cycle.

General statements of support from Premier Wade MacLauchlan with vague commitments and past actions by Prime Minister Trudeau leave worrisome wiggle room for compromise of our orderly marketing system that threatens stability of the dairy industry in Canada, and on the Island. Dumping of any amount of hormone or antibiotic laced U.S. milk must not be permitted.

There is increased pressure on Canada to sign a NAFTA deal by a Trump-imposed deadline of Sept. 30.

Prime Minister Trudeau must take a firm stand with our dairy industry, so that the supply management system is not compromised, or sacrificed as appeasement for a re-negotiated NAFTA settlement.

– Joe Byrne, Leader, Island New Democrats