I’m afraid Mr. McKenna is inadvertently advocating on behalf of foreign interests in his latest piece on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (Harper’s game risks losing billions in trade).
By taking what the United States is saying at face value, McKenna is spreading their false claim that only supply management is holding up TPP talks. Here’s another theory: the US has failed to bully their Canadian counterparts at the negotiation table and are getting nervous, going public to exploit any media coverage. This is a desperate negotiating tactic and, regrettably, he’s played right into it.
On a per capita basis, Canada is already the largest agricultural importer in the world. We are also the 15th largest importer of chicken, importing more of it than six of the other TPP countries combined, including the US.
We can stand proudly behind the level of access we provide so, respectfully, yes, this is trade bullying.
Our industry is greater than its 17,000 independent dairy, poultry and egg farms. It’s also the 900 hatcheries, processors, and graders; the 107,000 Canadians in every province who are directly employed and another 200,000 whose jobs depend on these sectors. And it’s the $24.5 billion contribution to GDP and the $4.8 billion in taxes. These strong, successful farm businesses provide stability for both farmers and consumers. The fact that higher prices in Canada are not caused by supply management continues to fall on deaf ears, unfortunately, as does the truth that dismantling it in no way guarantees lower food costs.
Canada has successfully concluded many free trade agreements while rightly maintaining supply management: we’re confident it will continue do so, in spite of what others would try to have us believe.
Chicken Farmers of Canada