As reported by CBC, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is apparently wavering on trade deal compensation promised to farmers by the previous administration.
A high-profile example of this compensation is $4.3 billion that was promised to dairy farmers as part of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, in exchange for an opening of 3.25% of the Canadian dairy market.
Money was also expected to flow right away as part of a Processor Modernization Program. A seven-year program was to provide Canada’s dairy, poultry and egg processors with support to increase competitiveness through capital investments and technical and management capacity.
Trudeau’s Liberals have signed the Trans Pacific Partnership deal, and appear poised to ratify it, based on recent comments from the Prime Minister.
However, missing from Budget 2016 was any mention of the promised compensation or process modernization funds for this deal. As far back as November 2015, immediately following the federal election, the Liberals stated that compensation for the TPP “was not a done deal” and the Government now appears to be muddying the waters even further.
Across the country, the amount of farmers can vary significantly from riding to riding, with the largest concentration of farmers (unsurprisingly) located in rural constituencies. Any changes to the TPP compensation agreement (or any trade deal) promised to farmers is going to negatively impact rural areas moreso than their urban cousins, raising questions as to the Liberal commitment to rural Canada.
Ridings such as Pontiac, Qc that feature a notable presence of farmers, will ultimately suffer greater losses through this decision.
One can debate the pros and cons of supply management. However, local elected representatives are supposed to represent their constituencies above all else, and it is in the best interest on Pontiac for farmers to receive the compensation they were promised as a part of any trade deal. I sincerely hope that public pressure convinces the Liberals to do the right thing for Pontiac.