NFU urges Trudeau to stand firm in the protection of Canadian supply management!

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June 14, 2018

Right Honorable Justin Trudeau
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario   K1A 0A6
justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

We understand that you are under enormous pressure to give up Canadian interests in the negotiations with the USA in order to reach a new NAFTA deal. President Trump is using highly unfair arguments, especially when he targets tariffs that protect Canadian supply management. The USA, like European countries, offers enormous price support programs to farmers in general and dairy farmers in particular. They do that in order to enable farmers to survive an extreme low world-market price for dairy, caused, among other factors, by the American and European dairy producers’ double-digit production increases.  Canadian farmers did not cause this glut — because they have production discipline they do not over produce. In Canada we don’t need a government subsidy program, as our supply management system rewards efficient dairy farmers sufficiently from the market place. A recent study by Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) and executed by AC Nielsen Canada, showed that dairy products in Canada are 17% less expensive than in the U.S.

We are in close contact with farm groups in the USA who are organizing to get supply management systems off the ground in their country.  After studying and understanding the benefits of the Canadian system, these farm groups are squarely opposing President Trump’s NAFTA demand for dairy concessions from Canada. They see supply management as the only way for American dairy farmers to survive.

It is paramount that the Canadian government protects supply management for farmers’ sake, as well as for consumers and the tax-payer. Impairing it would be costly for government in terms of creating bailout programs for farmers and Canadian consumers would pay likely higher prices for lower quality.

We urge you to stand firm in the protection of Canadian supply management.

Already other trade agreements have watered down protection for supply management. This needs to stop. Supply management is an economic backbone for rural Canada and it has proven to be an example that others want to emulate.

Please show leadership and stand firm.

Sincerely,

Jan Slomp,
Vice-President Policy, National Farmers Union

CC: Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Foreign Affairs Minister; Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, Agriculture Minister

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Water, NAFTA and Supply Management

District Director Doug Campbell made the following presentation at a public forum sponsored by the Council of Canadians on October 10. He was part of a panel discussion,  “Boiling Point: Water, NAFTA and Supply Management”, with co-presenters Maude Barlow (Council of Canadians) and Scott Sinclair (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives).

Here’s what Doug had to say (you can also download the presentation in pdf here:

Let me express my thanks for the invitation to speak to the Council of Canadians in my capacity as Region One District Director of the National Farmers Union. My presentation will centre on the recent Island focus on water use, our environment, and the NFU’s position presented at initial public consultations on the development of a water act; as well as at the draft public consultations. It is our understanding that the Prince Edward Island water act will be introduced in the Legislative Assembly this fall. Unfortunately as the act is not yet public I cannot address the actual proposed legislation.

Humans, animals, and plants are depended on water for their survival, their growth, and their productivity. Without water there is desolation, death, a barren landscape. Water is life. From the moment of conception humans and animals begin their lifelong relationship with water.

Therefore access to pure water needs to be a basic right for all, not a privilege for the select, or a source of economic power for the few. Canadians have witnessed the cost to so many of our First Nations people who have suffered greatly from inaccessibility to clean fresh water. Both governments and individuals have turned a blind eye to deplorable third world water conditions on reserves. Should we doubt that it could happen further a field? It is commendable that our government is taking steps to place itself in a guardianship role with the goals of ensuring provision of sufficient, safe, and accessible water for domestic purposes; and provide protection to ecosystems, while requiring public reporting and consultation, and basing water allocation using science-based facts.

Access to good water is to know health and prosperity. We only need to look at the parts of the world whose infrastructure has been damaged by recent hurricanes. The headlines read of the desperation for water. The plight of our water is the plight of all of us. It is good to note that the proposed water act of PEI states everyone has a duty to protect water.

However, the draft lacks recognition of water as a human and ecological right. It is the hope of the NFU that this is corrected in the proposed legislation. Such recognition in itself will set the tone of the legislation. Access to good water is the right of all. The source of water cannot become a commodity to be exploited in the market place.

Land, water, and air are a joint package. The NFU’s stance is that the debate on water, land and air cannot be separated. To ignore or mistreat even one is to greatly impact the others. Continue reading

Family Farms in Peril Without Strategy

Published February 4, 2017 in the Charlottetown Guardian

I read with great concern the article written by Sylvain Charlebois entitled, “Can Trump save Canadian dairy industry,” which appeared in your newspaper on Jan. 17. To say the least, his view of the value of supply management systems is disheartening to read.

The fact that he is a professor in the Faculty of Agriculture at Dalhousie University (formerly the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro, N.S.) causes even more concern.

He noted that under the proposed CETA, 17,000 tonnes of cheese could be imported into Canada, which is less than 2 per cent of the market. This doesn’t sound like much, but we need to realize that this would amount to about 170 million litres of Canadian milk production – enough to support nearly 400 farmers with 50-cow dairy herds. Continue reading