Sun Media: July 2015

David Akin overlooks key facts when he advises voters to oppose supply management. (Progressive voters should reject wealthy farmer subsidy, July 23)

Supply management doesn’t increase consumer prices or comprise a regressive ‘tax on the poor’. Retailers set retail prices, accounting for factors like brand positioning and logistics. That’s why prices for the same product often vary so much from store to store.

Studies comparing Canadian grocery prices to American grocery prices often fail to take this variation into account. They also neglect to mention that the U.S. provides generous subsidies to its farmers – subsidies that come straight from the pockets of American consumers.

Countries that have eliminated similar systems have not fared as well as some allege. In Australia, consumer prices have risen, while farm revenues have plummeted.

Supply management serves a number of critical purposes in Canada: by guaranteeing a steady supply, farmers are able to earn a stable return, allowing them to reinvest in their communities. Small wonder it has the full support of Ontario Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal, who credits it with saving rural Ontario’s economy during a BSE outbreak.

It also has the support of consumers, who are guaranteed access to high-quality Canadian food.