Dark Day in the history of dairy farming in Canada

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Source: Dairy Farmers of Canada

With today’s, November 30th, signature of the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, Prime Minister Trudeau failed the Canadian dairy sector again. In the space of a few weeks, the federal government has gone beyond the original concessions made when the USMCA was announced, and signed a deal today granting the US oversight in the administration of our dairy system. This equates to no less than a loss of sovereignty for Canada.

Despite commitments from the Canadian government that these oversight measures would not be in the agreement, the signed trade deal includes such provisions. “The oversight clause undermines Canadian sovereignty and its ability to develop and manage Canadian policies without US intervention. This should not be understated, and will have a lasting effect on our domestic dairy sector,” said Pierre Lampron, President of Dairy Farmers of Canada.

Granting additional market access of 3.9% to our domestic dairy market, eliminating competitive dairy classes, and extraordinary measures to limit our ability to export dairy products to any country in the world will have a dramatic impact on investments by the whole sector. “We fail to see how this deal can be good for dairy farmers, their families, and the 221,000 people employed in the dairy industry,” added Lampron. “Our government is not only contributing to the dismantling of our dairy model in Canada, it is giving up our sovereign right to make our own policies and that should be of concern to all Canadians.”

Once recent trade deals – including CETA, CPTPP and USMCA – come into effect, total dairy imports will make up close to 20% of the Canadian dairy market. In other words, the thousand cuts from cumulative concessions granted in trade deals over the past decades will have displaced 1 out of 5 of our homegrown high quality dairy products. At the farm gate alone, this represents an annual loss of $1.3 billion for farmers. The agreement also means that locally produced milk from Canadian dairy farms is being pushed off the shelves to make way for imported products from the US.

The Government has said repeatedly that it values a strong and vibrant dairy sector – they have once again put that in jeopardy by giving away more access and letting the Americans dictate our dairy policies. “This is truly a dark day in the history of dairy farming in Canada,” declared Pierre Lampron in a statement released today.

A video reaction to the signature of USMCA from Pierre Lampron (in French) and David Weins, Vice-President of DFC (in English) are available here (for high resolution format, contactRebecca.ritchie@dfc-plc.ca).


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