August 31st, 2017

Liberals are Failing Dairy Farmers, Again

OTTAWA – In solidarity with dairy farmers who are raising the alarm on the inadequacies of the “compensation” program, the NDP is calling on the government to come up with a new plan to compensate producers. On Tuesday, only a week after the program started, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada announced it would no longer accept applications from dairy farmers for the controversial investment assistance program the Trudeau government announced to address breaches in CETA negotiations regarding supply management. Without access to the compensation owed to them, and a lack of funds, several dairy producers are now hitting a wall.

“Producers have every right to be upset with the federal government, because like us, they have repeatedly raised over and over that funding levels set by the Liberals are highly inadequate,” said NDP Agriculture and Agri-food Critic Ruth Ellen Brosseau. “It was difficult enough to accept the government’s investment program, instead of a compensation program. Now, they have even closed the door to the investment program, and only after a week. It’s as if the Liberals are purposely throwing roadblocks in front of our dairy producers.”

During the election campaign, the Liberals promised to compensate dairy producers for concessions made during CETA negotiations, only to backtrack on this investment program. The Program would only compensate $250 million - over a period of 5 years - when losses were actually estimated to reach triple that at $750 million. It’s not the first time the Liberals have harmed dairy producers, who work very hard to maintain economic growth. Since taking office, the Liberal government has been completely inactive in the raw milk sector, and they succumbed to the European Union regarding the allocation of the tariff quotas. Moreover, they have so far failed to promise that they won’t open new breach in their NAFTA and TPP negotiations.

“The Liberals compensation package promise which was meant to offset the losses dairy farmers will face because of CETA is not adding up. The NDP warned that dairy producers would suffer with only the $250 million allocated, but they have pushed through with this bad trade deal anyway,” said NDP International Trade Critic Tracey Ramsey. “If this is any indication of how the Liberal government plans to protect our supply managed sectors, farmers and all Canadians should be very worried about their negotiation strategies for NAFTA.”

The NDP will continue to fight to protect our dairy producers and industries, and will hold the government to account when Parliament resumes in a few weeks.