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S'enregistrer au Flux RSS Le Sénat du Canada
Blog > Economy > Supply Management: next victim of the Conservative government?
Nov 25

Supply Management: next victim of the Conservative government?

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and to speed up our communication, I will ask the question in her first language.

This morning, I came across an article in the famous — my own adjective — Globe and Mail entitled “New Zealand disputes Harper’s stand on tariff walls.” There was a good picture of him, I must say.

The article discusses how the New Zealand trade minister, Tim Groser, used his speech at the opening of a dairy factory in New Zealand to raise questions about Canada’s application to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. He emphasized that existing Trans-Pacific member countries will vet applications from Canada, Mexico and Japan very carefully, seeking clear evidence that they are committed to liberalizing trade. He said admittance to the talks requires this.

We will be looking for clear political signals of a reasonably broad-based understanding that it is not just a matter of turning up at the club and demanding membership. . . .

When our leaders said ‘eliminate’ tariffs and other direct barriers to imports, they meant it.

Considering that New Zealand is the largest dairy exporter in the world and, as such, has great influence on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, will the Conservative government do the same thing it did to grain farmers and turn its back on Canadian dairy and egg farmers by killing supply management?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I saw the article that the senator is referring to. As I mentioned in this place the other day, it is in Canada’s interest to participate in all the trading arrangements that we can participate in. Our approach to the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be no different than our trade negotiations with the EU.

In that regard, we will seek to defend and promote our specific interests in every sector of our economy, as will New Zealand, I am sure, and as Japan and the United States will as well. All of us, everyone that is at the table, will obviously defend and promote our specific interests. In our case, one of these specific interests is supply management, which we made a commitment in our platform to defend.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, in answer to my question on supply management on November 16, the minister stated:

It is so 1970s and 1980s. Things have changed so much since then, and so has farming.

If the leader read the article, she would know that was also what the minister said in New Zealand.

In the same Globe and Mail article, I was surprised to read that the Leader of the Government in the Senate shares the same opinion as the New Zealand trade minister. While summing up the Canadian system for his listeners, Mr. Groser said that our country’s sheltered and centrally controlled dairy and poultry industries were outdated. He said:

Canada follows a policy that many governments used to follow but most have moved forward. . . .

It is called supply management. It is completely inconsistent with tariff elimination.

Considering that it appears that the leader agrees with Mr. Groser’s opinion, will her government be honest with Canadian dairy and egg farmers and admit that her government will be modernizing agriculture by killing supply management and with it any chance of Canadian farmers making a decent living?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, Senator Hervieux-Payette had laid out a whole series of attitudes that I was referring to. I had very clearly answered the government’s position with regard to supply management, but in her question to me — I do not have it at my fingertips but I could easily look it up — it was the overall attitudinal suggestions that I was referring to as being so much back in the 1970s. I would appreciate it if the honourable senator would not take my words out of context and try to cleverly match them up with some person from New Zealand whom I have never met.

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