Bernier’s Message a Gift to …. Trump

US President Donald Trump had probably never heard of Maxime Bernier before today … but I’d bet he and his US trade officials are all high-fiving each other at the White House over Bernier’s decision to quit the Conservatives and form his own political party.

While Canada’s media consumed themselves Thursday with the domestic political implications of Bernier’s move …  how trying to split the Tory base into two parties … will be a gift to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals …  it’s the NAFTA trade implications of Bernier’s message that should really worry Canadians.

Trump and his trade officials will LIKE Bernier’s denouncing  “extreme multi-culturalism”, but what they will really LOVE is his stance against Canada’s marketing board system for eggs, dairy and poultry products.

Because that’s a KEY goal the Americans REALLY want out of NAFTA negotiations with Canada … destruction of our supply management marketing board system, which protects our dairy/poultry farmers against runaway over-production (like they have in the US) and imports and dumping of that excess from the US through high tariffs.  (Just like the Americans protect their tobacco industry through similar high tariffs on Canadian (Ontario)  tobacco).

Trump,  his trade team and the huge American dairy producers …  in Wisconsin, California, Idaho ad New York … want “in” to Canada … and Bernier wants to give them that.

I’d go so far as to predict all the machinations/tariffs against steel, aluminum … even lumber could go away much more quickly  … IF Canada would open up its border and our consumer market of 37 million potential customers to US eggs, dairy, milk, cheese etc … you know, the things Canadians scoop up first when they cross the border to shop.

Of course, that would destroy thousands of Canadian family farms, even our established commercial agricultural production plants and even co-ops … coast to coast … that depend on the security of established quotas and regulated prices under our marketing boards to be able to not only survive, but make decent livings/profits as well.

Without marketing boards, we’d have the American system: total free enterprise and unregulated production …  that has been failing for US dairy farmers for years and is in deep trouble, despite their population and consumer market  topping 350 million!

The American system has forced lower prices, yes, thanks to over-production and fierce competition but has also favoured huge, highly industrialized farm corporations and conglomerates.

Those American egg, poultry, milk and cheese producers … and Trump …. would like nothing more than to be able to DUMP their excess industrial-scale production into Canada.

Bernier believes it could be a winning proposal  to sell to Canadians the dream of lower prices (at least initially) …. just give in to American pressure, sacrifice almost 19,000 Canadian dairy and poultry farms and  farming families … and relieve the US pressure on our major manufacturing and resource industries.

But is that REALLY the type of country most Canadians would want?

Our dairy and egg farmers have invested millions of dollars in land, equipment, health controls … and sweat 365 days a year …  to make their livings and put safe food on Canadian tables.

What happens to them … and the hundreds of small towns and businesses they support, with local equipment and feed purchases, hardware, retail shops, community services, schools, etc right across Canada … if we sell them out for cheaper eggs/milk dumped here by US conglomerates?

Bernier may not care … but I do.

Even though I hate paying what we shell out for milk!

Harv Oberfeld

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18 Responses to Bernier’s Message a Gift to …. Trump

  1. Gene The Bean says:

    Bernier doesn’t care is an understatement. He is a hard core conservative, a corporatist, a racist and a selfish fraud.

    Him calling the entire Conservative party “morally deficient” (where have you heard that before…?) really made me laugh. It is true though. Conservatism over the last 25 years is the party of hate, the party of intolerance, the party of me,me,me. He is a Trumplodyte no doubt. The morally bankrupt low IQers amongst us that support current conservative “values” will now be torn. What disruptive racist do I support? What manipulative hater do I want to screw over 95% of the populace and ruin the environment? Their little brains must be spinning out of control.

    Marketing boards are not perfect, but they do protect us. It is for the broader good – exactly opposite of conservatism.

    Tick Tock.

    Trump is the best thing ever to happen to the progressive movement. The Big Orange Clown and people like Bernier are killing conservatism and are just making it more racist, more intolerant and more ignorant.

    History wont be kind to them – but it’ll be even harder on those that support them.

    Conservatism in its present form must die. A slow, tortuous agonizing death for all to see – and to learn from.

    Do you want a real life example of how stupid conservatives are? They are going to split and have two right wing parties. That splits the vote and guarantees a centre-left win. Any recent examples of that ….. (cough cough Alberta).

    The percentage of the populace that proudly stand behind a political movement that left them long ago is amazing. Amazingly sad.

    (Response: No doubt the split …if Bernier attracts any substantive following … will help Trudeau get re-elected. But remains to be seen how many Canadians will be attracted by his stand against “extreme” multi-culturalism… whatever that is … and the appeal/promise of 99 cents a dozen eggs and $1.99 for a gallon of milk…. until Canadian farmers and small town farming communities are wiped out and then most of “our” dairy, eggs, poultry are just shipped north to the big supermarkets from Wisconsin, California, Idaho and New York …and to hell with freshness too. h.o.)

  2. mr perfect says:

    Good column Harvey.

    My belief is that here in Canada we should concentrate on having both food security and energy security which is why I’m not happy we aren’t refining oil from the Alberta oil sands instead of shipping dilbit to foreign buyers. The free market isn’t going to help us in those areas no matter what their proponents say.

    An aside, on the south side of the 49th, when farmers complained about Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum hitting them in their pocket book many prominent left wing political pundits said, “Too bad! They voted for Trump.” Big mistake. You don’t tell people who grow the food you eat where to go.

    (Response: Canada should indeed have another refinery to process more oil here … and help us become totally self-sufficient … and export as well. We could use the revenues .. esp from increased production … to pay for the ever-increasing demands for improved social programs and services. h.o.)

  3. Marge says:

    The dairy issue aside – which Trump will win hands down and Trudeau will capitulate over in order to have NAFTA done before the elections – the people of Quebec will use Bernier as their new “separatist” party. He speaks what they want to hear. He’s against immigration on a large scale and this will play well into the hands of the fear mongers and those in Quebec who are tired of paying for all of the “irregulars” coming into their province without federal help. He plays into the average person’s fears not only in Quebec but in multiple areas of Canada. He will take Quebec away from the Liberals for sure and we will most likely have a minority government in 2019. The only way Trudeau can deal with this before the election is to hand tons of money over to Quebec, which I am sure he will do in the slim chance the Quebecers can be bribed with our money.

    (Response: Bernier will no doubt appeal to some …but the question is whether those seeking office under his banner will garner enough votes in each riding to defeat all the other “traditional” parties running and capture the seat. I’d bet he wishes we had a proportional representation voting system … where even a party that loses every riding can still end up with seats and a platform in the House of Commons to build on for the next time. h.o.)

  4. D. M. Johnston says:

    Ah Canadian politics at its best, a piranha infested system where vicious little fishies, consume everything and in the end, eat themselves.

    Bernier has espoused what many Canadians think, the absolute failure of multi cultural system; out of control immigration and refugees, with no politicians wishing to address the issues.

    Of course the chattering class will support Trudeau because they are making a fortune off of Liberal largess, but Trudeau is doing nothing to address real issues.

    Neither the NDP for that matter.

    Canada is on the verge of a major make over and I do not like the outcome as my Canada is dead and gone and what once was is no more.

    I won’t support Bernier, nor Scheer, nor Trudeau or Singh, which leave me with virtually no one to vote for except Mr. peanut, if he runs.

    The Cowardice of the major politcal parties to deal with real issues and the absolute cowardice of the mainstream media has condemned the country to a mediocre standard, achieving little by offending no one.

    Adios Canada, you were once great, but now you have become L.A. North, run by gangsters and shakedown artists.

    How the hell did we get here?

  5. Gene The Bean says:

    DM @ #4


    Multi-culturalism IS Canada. It is what makes our country great. It started with the mix of French, the Brits and the Natives. It continues today with people of all races, creeds and colours.

    It’ll never die, it’ll never change. But you and your way of thinking will.

  6. Marge says:

    Doug Ford with his rather unorthodox ways of thinking just swept Ontario. If Bernier mounts a party in Ontario, he may just take Ontario and Quebec and Trudeau will be in big trouble. Watch for more dough to flow through Quebec in the coming days from none other than the Liberal party. This is not a gift to Trudeau – it might actually be his nemesis!

    (Response: He and his xenophobic-tainted warnings will certainly appeal to some right wing Quebeckers (his home province) a lot more than will Scheer … but I’m not sure about Ontario, where I believe the Tory base will stick with their current leader .. at least for one election. h.o.)

  7. max avelli says:

    Mad Max is not a small “c” conservative. Traditionally, conservatives have an “organic” view of society (each part of a body plays its role, and the better offs have responsibilities for those beneath them).

    Mad Max is a libertarian.

    He has no organizational skills. He has no public support (this is nothing like what spawned the Reform Party in 1988. That came from the grassroots anger in Western Canada over Quebec/Meech Lake. What anger is Bernier going to tap into? Too many non-whites in Canada? That is really not going to sell here.)

    He will be a party of one. No one is jumping on that ship.

    (Response: Certainly not getting support from the Tory establishment MPs or delegates etc … BUT his message about the need to counter “extreme” multi-culturalism WILL sell among some voters … esp among those who would fit in quite comfortably at Trump rallies. h.o)

  8. Gilbert says:

    When I lived in Finland, I was shocked to see that milk and cheese were so much cheaper than in Canada. Our dairy farmers in Canada are very powerful. They’re millionaires who know how to bribe our politicians to their benefit. There’s no reason we can’t get rid of communism and introduce a free market- one that benefits consumers and also allows a Canadian dairy market. Let’s not forget that free trade didn’t destroy our wine industry.

    There will always be people who will buy local products. As for Maxime Bernier, while I’m disappointed that he didn’t stay with the Conservative Party, I’m not super impressed with Andrew Scheer.

    (Response: True … our supply management quota system has eased the likelihood that Canada’s farmers will lose their shirts and end up poverty stricken. And I’m sure there are large producers who drive nicer cars than most of us. However, I’d bet a lot of them …. up to their necks in debt from borrowing/financing high tech farm equipment and rising production/labour costs … would disagree with your assertion that they’re millionaires. As far as Finland (and surrounding countries) it must have been a while since you were there…. their prices for most food products (on top of their horrendously high income taxes) are much worse. A dozen eggs are 2.82 Eu …or $4.28 Cdn. Read about it here … unless you suffer from heart problems: h.o.)

  9. e.a.f. says:

    You almost have to wonder how much Maddie Max is being paid by the trumpsters to come out with that line. Not only would we sacrifice all those jobs, a way of life, but our food security. People need to understand that if they can not feed their own population, if necessary, they will always be at the mercy of some other country. Never a good position to be in.

    Don’t know if Maddie Max is a Conservative or not, however, he comes across as a very self centered person. He may not be crazy about the party leader, but to leave the party to start another just isn’t the way to go. You wait until the leader is defeated in the next election and then go for the leadership. I suspect there is more to this than meets the eye or that we know about. Surely there must be a good mud racking journalist out there who could ferret out the information.

    Marge at #3, that is interesting, Bernier going to a party in Quebec. It crossed my mind but wondered who would take him. Perhaps that decision has already been made. Lets wait and see what happens, but you maybe right.

    Bernier’s comments regarding extreme multi cult. was very funny. I’m sure if we asked some First Nations, they’d suggest he and his culture leave along with the rest of us. If its an issue of “colour”, well we the whites were here first and the First Nations ought to have booted us out when we first arrived. So a bunch of invaders now want to decide which other “late” arrivals can not stay. It actually in my opinion is very comical.

    Gilbert #8, “our diary farmers are millionaire”, OMG you are a riot. They are millionaires on paper. Trust me they don’t make a million a year to put in the bank. They get up at ungodly hours to milk cows, work 7 days a week and its hard work. They don’t view it as work, they view as a way of life and they are to be commended for it. Many of these farms are passed down from generation to generation. I like the system we have. Why would we want to import another product line, which may not be as good as ours and in the end wind up paying more. A country which can not feed itself is on very thin ice.

    American diary producers receive billions in subsidies each year from the American government so its a bit rich for Trump to carry on about the Canadian supply management system. Canadian diary farmers are still mostly family farms. In the U.S.A. its argi business, traded on the stock exchange, part of a hedge fund, etc.

    It is doubtful Trudeau/Freeland will trade away our diary/egg industry because first they loose those 19K votes and then all of those votes of their friends, families, support businesses, and Canadians who like Canadian milk

  10. 13 says:

    Irregardless of Berniers decision to come out against supply management his split on the right has all but guaranteed 4 more years of Trudeau. That will cause far more damage to ALL Canadians than changes to current supply management .
    Max has acted in a way that will harm ALL .Canadians and not because of his views on any specific topic

  11. Gilbert says:

    The following is by Martha Hall Findlay:

    Our supply management system should be called what it is: a quota-regulated, price-fixing cartel, with prices set by the dairy producers themselves, high tariffs (in the range of 250 to 300 percent) applied to imports, and limits on production. As a result of this system, Canadian consumers pay two to three times more than they should for milk, butter, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. Worse, it’s a regressive system, hurting poor consumers the most.

    While supply management’s defenders claim that the system helps support small farmers, statistics show that in Canada, the rate of consolidation has actually been higher in the supply-managed dairy, poultry, and eggs sectors than in most other non-supply-managed agricultural sectors. (In the 1970s, when supply management was brought in, there were approximately 145,000 dairy farmers across Canada. Now, according to Statistics Canada, there are only about 9,000.) The idea that supply management’s beneficiaries are mom-and-pop family operations may work well as propaganda, but it is largely anachronistic.

    The average Canadian dairy farm’s net worth is almost $4 million. For the average poultry and egg farm, that figure is $6 million—which explains why it costs more to buy a dairy farm in Canada than to buy a Tim Horton’s franchise. This archaic system forces a single mother on welfare to pay hundreds of dollars more per year than she needs to, just so we can continue to enrich a small number of cartel millionaires. Even if the government does not “subsidize” the dairy industry in the sense of direct payments, the inflated prices produced by this system represent a clear artificial wealth transfer from the bulk of Canadian society to what is now a small group of wealthy producers—members of the oft-vilified “one-percent.” The money comes out of everyone’s pockets, just as a government subsidy financed with our taxes would. That’s why every significant international trade authority has properly called out our supply management system as a de facto subsidy, including the World Trade Organization (wto).

    (Response: For those unfamiliar, Findlay is former Liberal MP and now is CEO of the Canada West Foundation. It’s true the marketing board system is quota and price regulated rather than a free enterprise free for all. But that’s the whole point of having our system: our family farmers …unlike those in the US ..can’t be squeezed and undercut into poverty by huge national producers and even retail corporations. As for the contention farms and thus farmers are worth millions … reminds me of many Vancouver seniors … sitting in homes they spent decades paying for, now worth millions ON PAPER, but living on CPP and OAS and small savings/company pensions. Only most farmers in small town Canada can’t sell for condo towers …and without our marketing board system, if the huge American producers were allowed to dump their excess production into Canada, those “million” dollar farms would soon be worth NOTHING… not good for them or the hundreds of communities they support across our nation. h.o)

  12. hawgwash says:

    Since farming has entered the debate, I suggest, if they haven’t yet seen the Netflix series Rotten, it’s worthy of the time. Particularly episodes 4 and 5 as it pertains to poultry farming, milk production and the conglomerate hammers poised over them.

  13. RIsaak says:

    Wow, is all i can say after reading many of the ill informed comments here. Born on a farm to farmers. Quota was the major impediment to my families continued farming, too expensive to purchase and too tempting to sell for a quick buck, these were realities in our home when I was young. My father owned egg & dairy quotas until the late 70’s. The dairy quota was sold to the largest milk producers in Manitoba, who are a religious sect. The egg quota went to a conglomerate not any farming families in either case. Median farming income according to stats can is $140-150K/yr. hardly much considering the costs of quota (often valued in excess of all other requirements to farm combined), buildings, animals, machinery and the plethora of smaller ancillary costs. 4-6 million to buy a 150K job in this current economy is hardly profitable enough for most to remotely consider. Interestingly enough the pork industry (no supply management like eggs & dairy) is a wide open much more affordable option for many and unlike dairy & eggs is experiencing a growth spurt with many newer innovative techniques appearing, many smaller farms flourishing, all without any form of real supply management. Just a few facts to cast some shade on many comments seen here from the masses who really seem somewhat taken by the supply management system which is anything but friendly to start up, small or family farms which have not been inherited. Arguably the current supply managed system will soon see nothing but corporate farms just like the US system which at least offers much lore affordable options for the consumers who always pay the freight, albeit much wasted on the bureaucratic oversight which offers zero tangible benefits to the average Canadian.

    (Response: Really good to hear from someone who lived on a farm and saw it operate. However, farming, financing and marketing challenges now are quite different from the 1970s; and, one reason the pork industry here is doing well is WE ship substantial amounts into the US, which has a MUCH larger population and potential customer both Canadian and American producers do well. Allowing US egg and dairy conglomerates to dump in Canada, with our much smaller population and customer base, will do a lot of damage. h.o)

  14. Marge says:

    And round one goes to Bernier:

    Notice how easily Mexico capitulated. It will be the same with Trudeau. He wants this done before the next election.

  15. e.a.f. says:

    Gilbert at @11, yes, if Findlay wants to call it a cartel, she can go for it. Its just that when working people band together to keep themselves on their farms its called a “cartel”. when massive corporations get tax breaks and don’t have to pay royalties its called “job creation”. If people need money to continue to live, its called welfare and they’re lazy.

    I find it so funny, Ms. Findlay calls dairy farmers cartels. She obviously doesn’t have a problem with all the other “cartels” in the world, including those who control the pharmaceutical prices, the prices of gas–now there is a cartel if we ever saw one. Oil goes down in price and our gas at the pump prices go up. Yeah, that’s good business if you’re Ms. Findlay and her friends, but diary famers trying to make a living that’s a cartel. Ms. Findlay and her friends are simply doing the work of their corporate friends in the U.S.A.

    If I recollect correctly the /American diary industry is subsidized to the tune of at least $22.2 BILLION in 2015, either directly or indirectly and the Americans think we have a “cartel”? No the Americans and Ms. Findlay need a place to dump all their excess milk and Canada suites them fine because Wisconson is just across the line.

    There are massive agriculture subsidies in the U.S.A. to argi business. They don’t do much in the way of family farms any more, they fell like flies back in the 1980s. Farms in the U.S.A. are huge conglomerats which receive amazingly large subsidies from their government because those corporations pay the politicians so much money during election campaigns. It can cost up to $50 million per Senator to get elected. You bet they want to call our diary industry a cartel. Those American politicians need to earn their $50 million every 4 or 6 years.

    A country which can not feed itself isn’t secure as a country.

  16. harry lawson says:


    you must be feeling better, this is a very thought provoking post on many fronts.

    With Berniers leaving the conservative party it reminds me of the start of the reform /alliance movement.

    there is more to supply management in Canada than just poultry and dairy.

    we have quotas thru out are whole economy everything from taxi licenses, fishing ,.forestry , etc.

    I have to ask is Donald trump the Canadian consumers best friend?

    in this day and age do we truly need all of this supply management in Canada?

    if we fought as for affordable housing as we do for supply management, we would be better off.

    (Response: Thanks. I try to keep it real and support ideas that I believe are best for us all … even if my position will cost me … a pensioner … more than what others are proposing. If you think this one was thought-provoking..wait till you see the next? h.o.)

  17. Diverdarren says:

    Harvey, you have presented a great example of what happens when the fundamentals of free market economics are abused and the government takes the reins of the market… they steer us into the ditch.

    Is it the purpose of government to close off an industry to the benefit of a select group of individuals and effectively create a cartel?

    When did it become a government prerogative to pick the winners and the losers in the market?

    Yes, the Canadian dairy farmers enjoy a level of unearned success, but it’s on the backs of consumers. Any person who supports Soviet styled Supply Management System had better be in favour of subsidies to Bombardier because it’s the same idea. The idea being a perversion of basic economics to the detriment of Canadians as a whole, and to the benefit of a political party to buy votes.

    Let’s dispel with the warm fuzzy notion that the dairy farmers are some noble breed salt-of -the -earth producers. Showing not only determination to stay “working the soil” in today’s fast paced tech world, hearkening back to a fabled yesteryear, but also the business savvy the likes of any titan of industry as well.

    Even I could run a successful telegraph machine business in 2018 if the government were to protect the industry from competition and economic evolution. Use the power of government to force every Canadian to use Morse-Code instead of cell phones.

    We can also drop the fallacy of fresh Canadian milk for all the people. The vast majority of dairy is in Ontario and Quebec, and as for us here in BC even a statist-progressive would actually admit Washington State is closer… actually scratch that. A liberal would never concede to a fact if it didn’t support their bias.

    Where some on this blog would use the law to protect a select few families from the forces of competition, leading to the harm of the rest of us, I put Canadian consumers first.

    1. Break the cartels protected monopoly.
    2. Allow competition to create a true market.
    3. Free-trade with others.

    Get milk at market price. Mmmm… delicious.

    (Response: Free trade on everything is not as great for consumers as it may look. Yes … cheaper imports made or grown where labour is much cheaper or barely paid at all are GREAT for consumers … until they are laid off because someone else in some cheaper market is producing the same goods at lower prices. Some products deserve protection for the overall good of the nation and each country decides what qualifies … in Canada, it’s dairy eggs, poultry, produced on farms that are the backbone of many small towns and cities across the nation : in the US it’s tobacco with a 300% tariff … but I don’t hear many Americans saying drop it …let Ontario and other foreign tobacco in so we can have cheaper smokes. h.o.)

  18. RIsaak says:

    All of the export pork is raised east of BC, we only produce less than 15% of consumption in BC.

    The albatross in this equation is the newly supply managed, government sanctioned monopoly in pot. The parallels are many, the monopoly is sanctioned by the Govts. and the goals and aims will fall far short of expectations IMO.

    (Response: Unlike milk…I’d bet there will still be a LOT of private locally grown, sold untaxed pot out there available for purchase. h.o.)

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