May 31, 2016
For Immediate Release
Ottawa – Maxime Bernier, leadership candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada, today called on Conservative members to reconsider the Party’s official support for supply management in agriculture.
Supply management is a legislated cartel based on control of production, on the banning of imports, on price fixing by bureaucrats, and on preventing competition and entry into the market. It forces families, especially those with children and low-income families, to pay hundreds of dollars more every year for dairy, egg and poultry products. It is 2.6 billion of dollars more that Canadians pay each year for these products.
Maxime Bernier believes it’s time to adopt a position on this issue based on free-market principles. “Conservatives are not credible when we talk about principles and then defend policies that squarely contradict these principles,” he said at a press conference in Ottawa.
The policy is not only unfair to consumers, but also to the 90% of farmers in other agricultural sectors who cannot develop their export markets as much as they otherwise could, because the protection of supply management has always been the focus of negotiations in trade agreements.
“In order to satisfy one small but powerful lobby, we restrict the development of thousands of other farming businesses across the country, and prevent the creation of thousands of jobs in these other sectors,” Mr. Bernier declared.
The Beauce MP proposes to follow the successful example of reform in Australia. There would be a gradual phase-out of the system with a temporary levy on these products to compensate farmers for the value of their quota. After that transition period, Canada would have a free, open and fair system to all, with lower prices, innovation, and more growth in the whole agricultural sector.
Several commentators and personalities have concluded over the years that supply management is an inefficient and unfair system, including former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney who said it’s time to consider ending it. Maxime Bernier believes the leadership race is a good occasion to have a real debate on this issue instead of maintaining this taboo, despite the political risk it implies. “I am willing to take that risk, because I believe that this is the right thing to do for all Canadians and for the Canadian economy” he concluded.
Today’s announcement also included:
- Quotes from other politicians and commentators (Word .DOC)
- Text of the statement in full
- This release (Word .DOC)
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