Regarding the opinion piece on dairy supply management by Maxime Bernier carried in the July 5 Manitoba Co-operator: Polls indicate that the vast majority of Canadians have little to no idea what supply management is really about. The same polls also reveal when consumers are told how supply management works, they support the price stabilizing tool for dairy, egg, turkey and poultry farmers.
Maxime left that important footnote out.
There is one thing I will agree with Maxime on… there are not enough dairy farmers to affect the next federal election. There are, however, more than enough dairy, egg, turkey and poultry farmers, their friends, farming neighbours, supporting businesses, relatives and customers to influence the vote and they take issue with a condescending wealthy businessman armed with ideology attacking family farms.
During Maxime Bernier’s failed attempt to seize power of the Conservative Party of Canada, he wrongfully asserted on every national television network, “Dairy is two times the price in Canada compared to USA.”
This assumption is based on the 270 per cent that is used for U.S. dairy exports to Canada, only when over and above the 15 per cent dairy market access Canada allows, which the U.S. allows only three per cent access. The tariff exists to prevent subsidized overproduction milk from the U.S. being dumped in Canada.
U.S. dairy farmers are subsidized because the farm price offered by the marketplace has been below cost of production for three to four years or more.
Max personally told me, “I know constituents who cross the border every week to buy cheap milk.” This anecdote should not be used as a justification to end supply management. Instead, we should ask why border prices are lower than Canadian prices.
His intentions are not to save that constituent a drive, his intention is to abolish a successful, well-built, yet imperfect system which is at odds with his personal ideological “beliefs.”
– Bruce Sargent, videographer FarmBoy Productions, a subsidiary of Glacier FarmMedia. He is also a stakeholder in a family dairy operation
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