It’s Time to Talk about Supply Management

The Red Deer-Lacombe and Carleton Conservative Associations have put forward a proposal to phase-out supply management, recognizing that Canadian farmers will need help to smooth their adjustment to an open market.

Canadians are blessed to have an abundant supply of high quality food.  Regulations governing the health and safety of food in Canada are enforced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada.  These standards which apply to all kinds of food in Canada will not be impacted by the opening up of markets for milk, milk products, eggs, chicken and turkey.

Canada has a strong agricultural heritage that is a source of pride and identity across the country.  Many Canadian farmers are sophisticated, well-educated business people who can compete with the best in the world.

However, in Canada, unlike anywhere else in the free world, farmers don’t have the right to sell milk, milk products, eggs, chicken and turkey.  Their right to produce is restricted by the Farm Products Agencies Act, a law that was passed by the Liberal government in 1971.

A policy that was expected to protect small farmers has done everything but.  Since the introduction of supply management, 9 out of 10 family farms have disappeared.

With supply management, the cost of the quota needed to sell your product costs more than the animals.  It is estimated that buying quota is more than 75% of the cost to start-up or increase production in the supply managed sectors.  Unless you inherit your quota, it is unlikely you would ever be able to become a producer of milk, eggs, chicken or turkey.  The value of quota is often an issue in the inter-generational transfer of farms in the supply managed sector as the child that wants to continue farming can’t afford to buy out the interests of their siblings.

But it is not only producers that are being held back by marketing restrictions, it is also the domestic food processing industry.  Without access to competitively priced ingredients, they can’t compete in domestic or international markets.

Canadian consumers are also paying a price for supply management.  When compared to markets with similar quality products, Canadians are paying a premium for basic foods such as dairy, eggs, chicken and turkey.

Supply management in the agricultural sector is inconsistent with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades.  It comes up as an issue every time Canada looks to gain access to new international markets.  Every time the government protects supply management, it gives up something in another part of our economy.

It is time to look forward.  It is time to stop paying.  It is time to say enough to the powerful lobby that is trying to protect a fifty year-old Liberal policy at the expense of Canadians.

The Constitution of the Conservative Party of Canada reflects “a belief that the best guarantors of the prosperity and well-being of the people of Canada [is] the freedom of individual Canadians to pursue their enlightened and legitimate self-interest within a competitive economy.”

It is time to talk!

Vote yes to Policy Proposal #1189 to join the discussion leading up to the National Convention in Halifax.

Check out the Library of Parliament brief on Canada’s Supply Management System to learn more.