Canada And NAFTA

“Supply management: Canada limits imports of dairy, chicken, turkey, and eggs. The report says U.S. imports above quota levels face big tariffs — 245 per cent for cheese, 298 per cent for butter. “(This) inflates the prices Canadians pay for dairy and poultry.””
See What will Trump want from Canada on NAFTA? A U.S. document may offer clues
If this is one of the issues that is bugging Trump, the price I pay for eggs and milk, sign me up. I’ve been complaining about the high prices for powdered milk and cheese here for more than a decade.

The “supply management” system has become a licence to print money for Canadian dairy people. With this, in order to sell milk a dairy person has to own a “quota” a licence to sell per cow. The quotas sell on the open market at prices much higher than the price of a cow but there’s a catch. The dairy people are guaranteed a profit. No matter how ridiculously high the price of a quota, the dairy people are guaranteed a profit, so the prices we pay for milk are ridiculously high, higher than any other country on Earth. And, yes, there is politics involved. Most of the dairy people work in Ontario and Quebec, where most policies in Canada get decided. It’s a silly gap in the division of powers in Canada, that two provinces get to run the whole country just because they are the oldest provinces and most populous in the nation. It’s not representation by population but representation by constitution…

I’m all for Canada being able to supply its own food, which is the nominal intent of this policy, but it’s out of control. The other demands expected from Trump of Canada are generally inoffensive, reflecting new technology like “cloud”, except that Trump will likely insist on the right to spy on the Canadian government… which should be open anyway as we taxpayers aren’t getting enough GNU/Linux and openness as it is. Perhaps there will be some good come out of Trumpism after all, but I doubt it will balance out.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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4 Responses to Canada And NAFTA

  1. dougman wrote, “Sounds like a market you should corner”.

    It’s silly. I know. I live in a “rural municipality” but I am forbidden to own a goat or a chicken or a rabbit, anything considered a “farm animal”. Further, I could put my entire net worth into buying quota and have just a barn full of high-maintenance cattle. It’s not my thing. I’d rather plant trees or stuff that just works for me and not the other way around. If I wanted to raise beef, I could just roll a truck up to an auction yard and fill it up for a few $thousand, let them walk around eating grass for the summer and sell them at a profit, but milk, no, I am stifled.

    What the present system does is prevent young people or anyone from starting new operations because of the artificially high capital cost. This system has to be changed and Trump may actually do it in order to have more open markets for Wisconsin dairy people. It’s sad that a system designed to allow small farmers to feed their families has become a tool for rich old folks to become richer. It’s long since served its purpose and should have evolved long ago but for political power resting in two Canadian provinces. That’s the thing. The federal government here controls NAFTA negotiations but two provinces control the government. The rest of us don’t have much say. It will be interesting to see how this game of chicken unfolds.

  2. dougman says:

    BTW, you could also raise chicken in tractors as Joel Salatin does.

  3. dougman says:

    “I’ve been complaining about the high prices for powdered milk and cheese here for more than a decade.”

    Sounds like a market you should corner, instead of whining about it. Just think, the money spent on your electric doodad, could be used to generate a profit raising milk cows and cheese. Don’t blame Trump or America for your countries problems.

  4. dougman says:


    European consumers have been plunged into crisis by a vegetable shortage caused by severe weather.

    Shops across Europe – and particularly in the UK – have seen the shelves stripped of green produce like lettuce, broccoli and spinach.

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