OTTAWA – Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) wants to remind the federal government that while the effects of three successive trade agreements are being felt on farms, farmers are still waiting for the compensation they were promised.
Prime Minister Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Freeland and Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Bibeau have all reiterated the need to compensate dairy farmers for these trade deals, which transfer domestic milk production to dairy farmers in other countries who will supply the milk for dairy products making their way back to Canadian grocery stores. The commitment was repeated again as recently as September 23 in the Speech from the Throne, when the government noted that ‘Farmers keep our families fed, and we will continue to help them succeed and grow.’
“By 2024, as a result of trade concessions, some 18% of our domestic milk production will be outsourced to dairy farmers in other countries at a time when Canadians are more aware than ever of the importance of ensuring our own food security,” said Pierre Lampron, President of Dairy Farmers of Canada. “By not following through on its commitment, the government is undermining its own dairy sector which seems counterintuitive.”
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) came into force in 2017, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) came into force in 2018.
The commitments from government date back to 2018, and in the case of CETA and CPTPP, funding was announced in the 2019 budget. Right before the 2019 election, the government announced a first installment on the $1.75 billion in compensation for these two agreements, but since then there have been no developments. The government went on to ratify a third trade agreement harming its domestic dairy industry – the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) – and no details have been shared as to the amount or the timelines for compensation for that agreement.
“When a dairy farmer makes a commitment, his or her word is gold,” added Mr. Lampron. “We hold our federal government to the same standard – a promise made should be a promise kept.”
DFC is calling on the government to immediately announce the payment schedule and related amounts for the balance of compensation owed for CETA and the CPTPP, and announce a clear timeline and level of compensation in fulfilment of its commitment on CUSMA, to be granted in the form of direct payments.Source : Dairy Farmers of Canada