Bad cheese: Canadian dairy industry faces another setback – UPDATED

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The past few weeks have been difficult for the Canadian dairy industry. In addition to speculation surrounding promised TPP compensation for farmers, the Government recently voted “no” to stopping a foreign protein substitute that’s appearing in dairy products in place of real Canadian milk.

On May 3rd the Trudeau Liberals, including the MP for Pontiac, voted down an opposition motion asking the government to support Canadian dairy by enforcing the rules on what goes into dairy products sold here.

Diafiltered milk is a cheap protein substitute.  Unlike other dairy items, it enters into Canada tariff-free from the United States because it is considered to be an “ingredient”, and not true milk. Once here, the diafiltered substitute can be processed and sold for use in cheese and other dairy products.

Canada has strict standards for dairy – cheese must contain a certain percentage of real milk. Diafiltered milk is not real milk by any means, but it is being used as if it were – and this is being allowed by the Government.

This failure to enforce the rules negatively affects the Canadian economy, particularly in rural areas, as the diafiltered milk substitute finds its way into dairy products in place of real Canadian milk from our farmers.

The motion to address this deficiency was put forth by the NDP, seeking to coax the Liberals into supporting the dairy industry by “immediately enforcing the compositional standards for cheese for all Canadian processors.” The wording of the motion was even negotiable, in order to see it pass.

It’s a rare feat to have the Conservative, NDP, Bloc and Green parties voting on the same page, but all opposition parties unanimously voted to support the Canadian dairy industry.

All Liberal MPs voted against taking action to safeguard an industry that is important to many regions, including this one.

It’s extremely disappointing that Pontiac’s Liberal MP stood up to vote for his party, instead of standing up to vote for our farmers.


Sources on voting results:

Read up on diafiltered milks here:




Promises made to Pontiac farmers should be honoured


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.

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Justin Trudeau appears poised to ratify the TPP

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.