To paraphrase a well-known rant, I’m mad as hell and refuse to be told by those with no investment in supply-managed farms that I should be ‘pleased’! I do not agree that the present Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement proves the previous government supported supply management. It slowly dismantles it and offer bits as gold chips when negotiating.
Something akin to a husband assuring his wife with a sparkly gift that he values and supports their marriage . . . After all, he only has an occasional affair and doesn’t keep a full-time mistress! The rat!
Let’s reverse the tables and consider some ‘what if’ scenarios. What if cash crop farmers had to buy ‘acreage quota’ to grow their corn, grains and soy? Or if cow/calf, sheep or farrow-to-finish farmers had to own ‘dam quota’ to operate? Suppose feedlots and hog finishers had to own “square footage quota” to finish livestock? Or grocery stores needed ‘aisle space quota” and clothes stores bought ‘rack space quota’ to open their stores? What if Canadian newspaper and magazine publishers had to buy expensive ‘page quota’ to print? The cost is 100 % their own and on top of their operating expenses. To start or expand, quota has to be financed and bought. No government handouts.
Now suppose government negotiated away 3.25 % of their quotas, and possibly more later, in a trade deal which allows foreign, and mostly USA goods, to enter Canada tariff free and without the same standards, would they be ‘pleased’ or ‘happy’? No!
Even small dairy farms have over $1 million invested in quota. Medium-sized ones are invested well into the $2-million bracket. The large ones have incredible quota values. The TPP is removing 3.25 % now, with more later and these farmers are happy? I think not! Neither are the five dairymen I have spoken to. Far from it.
And the products entering Canada to displace our own are not required to meet the same standards as ours in any way, shape or form. Not the same housing, feed, veterinary products, slaughter, shipping or handling. No Canadian Quality Milk, no inspections by Canadian government departments, no paper work, no animal tracking or standards mandatory for Canadian farmers. One can count on different drugs and withholding times, growth hormones and other things banned here.
These products will go to the processors and used in a variety of items which will then go to the store and possibly mixed in with Canadian product, thus hiding them from view. This makes it better? It still displaces our products and the present Canadian labeling system plays into this, as the various identifications make it extremely difficult to determine what contains Canadian product and what was just made here. The Conservatives prepared well!
Our new government is unlikely to change the TPP, so here’s a solution. Take a lesson from the USA and implement a Canadian ‘COOL’ (Country of Origin Labeling) on packaging containing the imports. Something along the lines of:
“WARNING: This product contains non-Canadian dairy, eggs or poultry products for which your government has no assurance as to its rearing, production, feeding, transport, drug or growth hormone content or any other veterinary products for that matter. Consume at your own risk.”
This is completely legal as the USA has successfully prevailed with its labels against Canadian beef, pork, lamb and chicken for the past decade despite Canada’s at least three winning challenges against it with the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Maybe the Liberals will have the gumption to start assessing the punitive tariffs that the WTO gave Canada the right to do a year or so ago. That would help Canada’s meat producers far more than the TPP.