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!
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