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USMCA deal a bad one for agriculture

While dairy producers got most of the attention, the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal will give the U.S. a good chunk of our egg, chicken and turkey market too.

In the new deal the U.S. gets 3 point 6 per cent of additional access to the Canadian dairy market.

A Parksville dairy producer, Clarke Gourlay says he figures it’s because of the U.S. President Donald Trump’s public comments about dairy.

“We’ve given up something in the nature of 3 point 6 per cent and the chicken and egg people have given up, gosh, over 10 per cent.”

Gourlay says when you compound the effects of other trade agreements the give-away is getting serious.

“TPP, the Asian agreement, and the European agreement, we’re down 10 per cent in the last year, so, it’s the number of cows but it’s also, our net income is down 10 per cent.”

On dairy, Gourlay says U.S. producers can use hormones, that are illegal in Canada, to produce milk and there’s a long list of things American farmers do that Canadians don’t tolerate.

“There are a number of factors in the American milk production that Canadians, by and large, could not tolerate. The environmental impact of a 20,000 cow farm, the social impact of hiring principally undocumented labour below minimum wage to work in the farms, those are things that are very common in the U.S. and completely unacceptable in Canada.”

Farmers and the high quality food they produce for Canadians are not bargaining chips.

That’s what Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor told the House of Commons with regards to the new trade deal with the U.S. and Mexico.

He said the Liberals have now given up 10 per cent of our market, putting Canadian producers under significant pressure and leaving Canadians worried about the quality and safety of products that will cross over our border.

The Liberals Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland responded saying the future of supply management was preserved while the U.S. was seeking to dismantle it altogether.

She added, dairy farmers will be compensated for their loss.

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