National Post Reponse

John Ivison’s comment piece (Moore trades tariff relief for discredited 1970s policies, December 10) on price differences between Canada and the United States takes an odd turn at the end, and suddenly spins up that old, tired recording claiming supply management is why dairy, poultry and egg products cost more here.

So, I’ll hum the same refrain: supply management has nothing to do with retail prices. Setting those prices is the sole prerogative of the retailers, who charge what they think the market will bear. They set the price for food – and for everything else – for many reasons, including retailer competition, brand positioning, cost of competing items and specials to get consumers in the store.

Ivison talks about comparison shopping.  If, in fact, he did his shopping this way, he’d know that the biggest determinant of consumer price is where and when you shop. Dismantling supply management in no way guarantees any potential savings and may, in fact, drive prices up.

And if he’s flipping to the “B” side of his weary argument and saying that the price just keeps going up, he should look at the Consumer Price Index (CPI): In the past year, beef rose by 19.4% – pork rose by 14.4% – and chicken rose by only 2.7%. In the last TWO years, beef prices rose by 23.1%, pork rose by 18.1%, and chicken? Well, again, it only rose by 5.1%. Chicken is consistently the best value in the meat counter.

Ivison’s next verse of the timeworn ditty will no doubt moan about the live farm price for chicken driving consumer prices up. Not true. In fact, in the past year the live price of chicken has declined by 1.6% and over the past TWO years, it is down a huge 9.9%.

So, get out the Victrola and keep playing the old, tired tune that pretends that supply management is dismantled and savings are instantly passed on to consumers.

That’s a great example of old-fashioned thinking.

Mike Dungate
Executive Director
Chicken Famers of Canada