Supply Management – Good for Canada, Good for Canadians

Recent comments made by former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (ALENA: Brian Mulroney prêt à abolir la gestion de l’offre, August 7) do not reflect Canada’s reality or the desires of Canadian consumers.

Supply management is a system that benefits farmers and consumers alike. It exists to ensure that its producers receive fair compensation for their products without government subsidies or periodic bailouts. As a result, Canadian consumers benefit from a consistent and stable supply of high quality, domestically produced food products.

With his suggestions, Mr. Mulroney forgets that dismantling supply management would require that the Canadian government offer continuous, taxpayer-funded support like those other agricultural sectors receive – and U.S. support to its dairy producers is often equivalent to more than 80% of their market returns. Supply management farmers earn 100% of their income from the market, and do not rely on the subsidies or periodic bailouts.

Australia and New Zealand abolished their supply management systems, and both consumers and farmers have found themselves squeezed by the increasing concentration in the processing and retail sector. In both, consumers have only seen their prices increase.

Supply management does not dictate consumer prices. It only controls what farmers get for their product. Restaurants and retailers, based on what the market will bear, set the price that Canadians pay, not farmers.

Over the past 25 years, Canada has negotiated 14 bilateral or regional trade agreements with 51 countries, all while maintaining supply management. We are confident that the government and Canadians will continue to support Canadian farmers and ensure that supply management is maintained through the NAFTA negotiations.

Canadians want Canadian food and they trust Canadian farmers. In a recent Leger survey, over 88% Canadians said that they believe that it’s important for the government to support Canada’s dairy, poultry and egg farmers.

We have Canadians’ trust – let’s work to keep it.

Michael Laliberté
Executive Director
Chicken Farmers of Canada