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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JUNE 5, 2022
WESTERN PREMIERS BETRAY FARMERS, CONSUMERS AND ENVIRONMENT
“Comments on Canadian supply-management programs contained
in a recent news release issued by the Western Premiers amount to
an attack on Canadian farmers, consumers and the environment,” says
Stewart Wells, President of the National Farmers Union (NFU).
The Western Premiers
issued the news release at the end of their conference in Gimli,
last week. In their release, the Premiers
call on the federal government to sanction “cuts to over-quota
tariffs” on “sensitive products” including dairy.
This would effectively open up the supply-managed dairy sector to
massive imports from the US and other countries.
the Premiers’ assertion that opening up the
Canadian market to imported dairy products will lead to increased “market
access” for grains, oilseeds and livestock. In effect, he said,
such a position sacrifices an existing stable, profitable Canadian
market for an unstable, unprofitable international market. He noted
over the past two decades, increased exports have resulted in lower,
not higher, net farm incomes.
“Time and again, Canada’s supply-management programs
have proven to be a net benefit to Canadian farmers and consumers,” he
said. “A typical basket of dairy products in Canada costs 27%
less than similar products in the United States.”
He noted that
over the last twenty years, supply-managed commodities (where production
is matched to Canadian demand) have consistently
provided fair returns to farmers from the marketplace instead of
from tax transfers. “To attack, undermine and erode the brightest
light in Canadian net farm incomes is a short-sighted mistake on
the part of the Western Premiers,” stated Wells.
As well, with
the emphasis on climate change, governments should be looking for
to support local food systems, he added. “Local
food systems decrease the energy used to transport food products
around the world. Forcing Canadians to import supply-managed products
like dairy from New Zealand or the United States consumes far more
of the world’s energy supplies and increases greenhouse gas
out the Western Premiers seem more intent on destroying Canadian
than working to pressure other countries
to match the magnitude of market access that Canada already offers. “If
this is correct, then the Western Premiers are merely pandering to
the global corporate food trading companies,” stated Wells, “even
though these policies have been proven to destroy the incomes of
“The NFU is appalled at the comments made by the Premiers,” concluded
Wells. “Undermining both farm incomes and the environment while
at the same time driving up the cost of food to the consumer is a ‘lose-lose-lose’ game.
We strongly urge the Western Premiers to re-think their positions.
Failing that, we urge the Federal Government to dismiss their anti-farmer
rhetoric around the WTO negotiations.”
Contact: Stewart Wells, NFU President (306) 773-6852 or (306) 741-7694
Terry Pugh, NFU Executive-Secretary (306) 652-9465