With talks between Canada and the U.S. regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement intensifying in Washington, D.C., Canadian dairy farmers told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau not to use access to the protected Canadian dairy market as a negotiating tactic.
The Dairy Farmers of Canada says it’s already lost $193 million because of past trade agreements and they won’t accept more losses. “The work of our lives seems to have been reduced to a bargaining chip,” says Dairy Farmers of Canada president Pierre Lampron. The group, along with the Dairy Producers of Manitoba, says farmers will hold Trudeau accountable for his promise to defend the supply-management system.
The threat may have added strength because of Canadian national elections which come in about a year. They say Canada’s market is too small to accommodate U.S. overproduction, saying the Class Seven milk targeted by President Donald Trump is worth protecting. Both groups issued a statement saying, “We will hold our prime minister accountable for saying he will defend supply management and dairy in the NAFTA negotiations. We have articulated clearly that the support means no access will be given to the Canadian dairy market.”