TPP compensation a question mark for Canada’s supply-management sector

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On February 4, the same day Canada's International Trade Minister, Chrystia Freeland, signed the TPP deal in New Zealand, federal Ag Minister, Lawrence MacAulay addressed the closed-door Dairy Farmers of Canada Policy Conference.

I am advised that industry insiders at the invitation-only meeting have since disclosed that MacAulay promised at that meeting to put tariffs on the now duty-free imports of milk protein replacements.

Apart from it being a democratic obscenity to bar reporters from any meeting where a federal Cabinet Minister is making any sort of presentation, especially an announcement of a profound change in government policy, (but since when has supply management and/or the Canadian dairy industry ever had any sense of democratic principles?), MacAulay's closed-door promise to Canada's dairy aristocracy flies in the face of what Trade Minister Freeland signed half-a-world away the exact same day.

We are now in the situation in Canada where the federal Minister of Agriculture has more-than amply revealed himself, and his Ministry, to be wholly-owned puppets of supply management, and therefore, the rest of agriculture's interests can only be represented by Chrystia Freeland, the Minister of International Trade.

Who will prevail in Cabinet?

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Come on Ralph you cannot have it both ways ,Have the Federal Government defend Supply Management on Dairy if their is a trade challenge on implementing Class 6 to stop Dairy Imports ! Then turn around and demand COMPENSATION from Tax Payers, Were is you HEAD and Common Sense! You had better clean up your act real fast, we thought that the Dairy Farmers of Ontario finely woke up to REALITY! It appears not, you cannot have it both ways Ralph, You are sending a very bad message on behalf of the provinces dairy farmers! You can lose Support of this federal Government and CONSUMERS real FAST! Clean up your ACT!! Bill Denby importer/ Exporter

Actually Mr. Denby, it is you that wants it both ways.

When someone uses the term supply management and follows it closely with the term 'growth', that is an oxymoron.

Therefore, we could also use that figure of speech to describe anybody who argues for growth in the supply management industry while at the same time lowering prices, although the first three letters would be removed.

Raube Beuerman

Raube ,you have nothing to add to this , I stand up for my fellow dairy farmers when needed ,I have a right to comment , I was a licenced ,Quota holder for over 40 years and I Do not support the Dairy Farmers Board of Directors on this latest DEMAND of Tax Payers money or trying to BLACKMAIL the Government! This is a big mistake on behalf of dairy Farmers ,and can cost them the support of Consumers! You should keep your fingers out of this because you are not even in the dairy industry and never will be!Bill Denby , importer/ exporter

Why do we need supply management if we we want to grow by exports....
We don't.

Raube Beuerman

Why do we need supply management when DFO is willing to sell at world price by having created Class 6?

Once again, we don't.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

“Agropur is a well-managed business, but politically they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place right now because of supply management"
Wow, now there's a company that wants to "have it's cake and eat it too".
They are being politically correct and speaking out against TPP in this country, while at the same time setting up shop in the US to obviously take advantage of the TPP...just makes me shake my head in wonder.
D. Linton

How do you take advantage of something that may be over 2 years away from being implemented ? Agropur very likely owes its continued existence to Supply Management, why would they not defend it ?
The fact that they have been able to branch out into the US is a success story in the same light that Samputo has expanded around the world.
No one should blame them for bringing in cheaper dairy protein ingredients when their 2 rivals are doing the very same thing.The fault there lies with the Federal Government not closing that loophole years ago that allows those protein concentrates to escape tariffs.Even then, that still does not alter the fact that both Aropur and Samputo are huge Canadian Dairy success stories.

For Saputo and Agropur to have achieved any sort of so-called "success" in Canada, it came only after:

(A) being shafted on price for decades by greedy dairy farmers,
(B) experiencing flat sales because of consumer resistance to high prices beginning right at the farm gate
(C) being unable to reach international economies of scale by being unable to export

Therefore, to claim that Agropur and Saputo are "huge Canadian dairy success stories" ignores the extent to which they would be even bigger successes if not for the hurdles thrown at them every step of the way by greedy dairy farmers and the high cost/no growth policies inherent in supply management.

Both firms branched into the US (and in Saputo's case, beyond) because the US provided what supply management denied to them in Canada:

(1) increased primary demand,
(2) the ability to achieve economies of scale
(3) the lack of bloated, money-sucking and obstructionist dairy bureaucracies.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

A tree branches out with a good trunk and healthy root system.Supply management has given both Saputo and Agropur that root system.Without it they would have both been sucked dry by the subsidy -laden competition just over the border a long time ago.

Our good friend, Mr. Cumming, has pointed out time-and-time again that his dairy farm in upstate New York receives no subsidies of any kind whatsoever.

Yet. dairy farmers and their sycophants on this side of the border continue to wax eloquent about "the subsidy-laden competition just over the border" in the US.

In addition, the above poster continues the time-honoured Canadian dairy farmer tradition of ignoring the truth about supply management which did everything it could to "suck dry" Saputo and Agropur by forcing them to exist in a high cost/low growth environment in Canada.

Once again, alas, it appears the only thing to have been "sucked dry" has been the ability of Canadian dairy farmers to distinguish fact from fiction.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

US farmers for sure have a better system of support than Canadian farmers . Not sure what if any direct subsidies the US dairy farmer will receive .
You might be better off to drill down as to what support US AG gets that supports their whole Ag system .
Now from a north of the border perspective it may well be that any SM farmer is also allowed to participate in any Canadian or Provincial program for their crops that are grown and also paid handily for those crops under the SM system . Might be double - double dipping . Some will set up as a separate enterprise which is also not fair taxation .

Bottom line is SM has an unfair advantage that is screwing all other Ag and consumers .

Saying something over and over does make it true.

Most US dairy farmers don't know they are subsidized, but their lack of knowledge is not their fault. It is a myth that people foster perhaps because it fits the desired American pseudo-ideology better than the truth.

We can correct this with several examples of subsidies of the many available.

Guaranteed floor prices under the US government's milk price support program.
The Dairy Export Incentive Program (DEIP) and Dairy Export Enhancement Program (DEEP).

Most subsidies do not come as cheques to farmers' mailboxes but let's not pretend or be fooled that they don't exist.

The above poster is disingenuously trying to downplay/dismiss what he/she, in a fit of zealous hyperbole, calls "American pseudo-ideology" by engaging in a spirited proffering of Canadian pseudo-truth - or, in other words, trying to make this site's readers believe that:

(1) what is available from a farm assistance program
(2) what is actually received from a farm assistance program

are one and the same, yet they are not, and this point has also been made by Mr. Cumming who has noted in print, if my memory serves me well, that the last US subsidy money he received on his New York farm was in 2012, and was a relatively-small amount of money received from a program that no longer exists.

To look at it in a Canadian context, the above poster is doing exactly the same thing as claiming that the money available from the AgriStability program is what gets paid out, and that's patently absurd, but then again, making absurd claims is what supply management has always been all about.

Once again, the above poster demonstrates the extreme lengths supply management supporters will go, anonymously or otherwise, to grasp at any straws at all, even fictional ones, in an attempt to defend the indefensible.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

The simple point being made, which you ignore or willfully refuse to see, is that most US dairy subsidy programs are not paid directly to farmers.

The three example programs mentioned impact the milk market and prices paid to ALL US dairy farmers.

So, while Cumming may proudly say his last direct subsidy was in 2012, his milk production, like ALL US milk production is effected by US dairy subsidy programs - he has no choice.

It is telling that you see prices paid to SM farmers as a subsidy, but refuse to acknowledge the same thing when prices and volumes are impacted by policies and programs for ALL milk produced in the US.

You see supply management supporters in every patch of tall grass, but some people just punk you when you make ridiculous errors and illogical claims.

When anonymous nit-pickers get bogged down in the pursuit of trivia on this site because they "can't see the forest for the trees", it's worthwhile to re-focus on the big picture.

(1) Supply management is a failure as an economic model because it has created a "high-cost/low-growth" structure all the way from the farm gate to the retail cash-register. It's a system that fosters inefficiencies at the farm level as well as incurring huge "drag-costs" insofar as a huge bureaucracy has been created to do nothing but defend the system, including developing and perpetuating "feather-bedding" policies for the sole benefit of those who own quota. It also puts processors and consumers at a competitive disadvantage to their counterparts in neighbouring jurisdictions.

(2) Supply management is a failure as a social model because it has created, as is readily-apparent on this site, a complacent, smug and often arrogant rural aristocracy caring about nothing and nobody but themselves. As a vivid example of the "two-solitudes" in agriculture in 2016, one of my clients, now a non-supply managed farmer in his late 30s noted the following about his elementary and secondary school classmates from dairy and poultry farms - "They all got new snowmobiles, none of the rest of us did".

It was a cruel lesson in class-distinction learned at a tender age by my client and it's not just him. Based on my observations, if you're a farmer under 40 without quota, you don't socialize with people who do, and that speaks volumes about why supply management is not well-liked and will not be missed.

Therefore, I challenge all my anonymous critics to stop wallowing in minutiae and face the "big-picture" truth about the undeniable economic and social costs inflicted, even in the farm community, by supply management.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

When ridiculous errors and illogical claims are regularly and methodically dismantled two-by-two from post after droning post, then you resort to dismissing facts as trivia and minutiae. Retreat, double-time!

Anyone disagreeing is told instead to accept Someone's version of the "big-picture" in spite of points already shown to make that vision blurry and distorted rather than accepted gospel. Perhaps stick to the "big-picture" in the future to avoid being outed and slam dunked again.

Try another sport, perhaps. Game, set and match, again.

The above poster once again demonstrates that the evils of supply management adversely affect both rural economies and rural sociology.

He/she simply cannot deny that 40 years ago, nobody could have pointed out that the children of one sector of agriculture (except possibly tobacco) are able to get more "toys" simply because of the legislative entitlements enjoyed by their parents and that the fault for this now well-established class division in rural communities can be laid squarely at the lavishly well-shod feet of supply management.

In addition, no poster on this site, anonymous or otherwise, can deny that DFO's creation of a Class 6 - world price category is an attempt to take credit for solving a "high cost/low growth" problem they created and foisted upon processors decades ago.

Furthermore, nobody on this site, anonymous or otherwise, can deny that supply managed farmers are wards of the state, completely dependent on the perpetuation of current policies and correspondingly vulnerable.

Also, nobody can deny that the need to buy quota has created a high cost structure that is passed right on through to consumers.

Therefore, because the above poster can deny none of these damning things about supply management, he/she, bolstered by a mis-guided sense of entitlement and dismissiveness, resorts to using the mocking, compulsive and knee-jerk "shoot-the-messenger"strategy that has become completely-ingrained throughout the entire supply management culture.

Does agriculture need this kind of arrogance and anonymous dismissiveness when defending the ability of certain farm children to get more than other children solely because of the unearned and undeserved legislative entitlements bestowed on their parents?

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Please explain, please anyone explain, by using direct and verifiable examples, just exactly how and why:

(1) "most US dairy subsidy programs are not paid directly to farmers"
(2) "...ALL US milk production is effected (sic) by US dairy subsidy programs."
(3) Mr. Cumming is telling, at best, only a half-truth when he claims his dairy farm in New York State isn't subsidized.
(4) "..prices and volumes are impacted by policies and programs for ALL milk produced in the US"
(5) these subsidies divide the US farm community
(6) these subsidies adversely affect US consumers
(7) these subsidies act as a barrier to entry to aspiring US dairy farmers
(8) these subsidies make US dairy farmers "wards of the state"
(9) these subsidies stifle job creation at any level of the marketing channel
(10) the US doesn't need huge bureaucracies of civil servants devoted to doing nothing but defending the interests of US dairy farmers.

It is, I suggest, quite understandable that people on this site who don't own quota get annoyed when, as in the posting above, supply management supporters make anonymous claims which can't be supported by:

(A) common sense
(B) basic economic principles
(C) any cited evidentiary links at all.

and yet turn around and claim that the gibberish and unverified rubbish they have proffered is somehow "proof" that I am technically incorrect when I state this, that or whatever.

There seems to be a strange sort of dismissive mind-set among supply management supporters on this site (and everywhere else for that matter) that any sort of unsupported and anonymous gibberish published in support of supply management is to be immediately granted full evidentiary merit, while signed posts detailing the numerous and egregious flaws of supply management are automatically deemed to be completely without merit.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON


1) How many US Dairy buyout programs have there been since we started supply management in Canada--you know those government programs that take money from taxpayers and give it to an industry that is overproducing and can't survive?? Maybe you have seen these programs somewhere else, say in Canada's appropriately named pork industry?

A favourite ruse of, and/or a sizable chunk of the propaganda generated by, supply management supporters has always been to try to equate taxpayer-funded subsidies with consumer-funded subsidies - other than the fact that both are money, little else is the same either in principle or in practice.

More to the point, about the thing that can be proven when people try to equate the two types of subsidies is that they, alas, don't know a great deal, if anything at all, about macro-economics. That lack of understanding of basic macro-economics seems to apply to all supply management supporters including, apparently, the above poster because nobody who understands even the most-basic macro-economic principles would proffer the lame argument seen above.

It's quite basic, at all levels of economics, that if any group or sector is to be funded, by far and away the least damaging way to do it is through the tax system, if for no other reason than because this method doesn't establish the sense of permanency and entitlement that arises from consumer subsidies as is readily apparent in supply management.

The only way to do any sort of valid comparison of the "costs", including societal costs, of consumer-funded subsidies and taxpayer-funded subsidies would be to include, in the consumer-funded subsidies, the costs of opportunities denied (and the multiplier effect thereof) all the way from the dairy and poultry processing sectors to Canada's more-than 30 million consumers as well as the cost of opportunities denied to prospective non-supply managed farmers who simply can't compete with the clout afforded to supply managed farmers because of the 200% tariff barriers that benefit them alone.

Let's put it this way - the above argument comes up at least once, and only once, in every introductory Ag Economics class, is discussed for about a minute before it is promptly, properly and permanently dismissed and never mentioned again.

On this site we should be so lucky!

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Lots of examples here:

Once you have addressed each one of these I will give you some more.

What could some silly economists from an unknown little place like Cornell University, working in the school's Program on Dairy Markets and Policy possibly know about the Evolution of Milk Pricing and Government Intervention in Dairy Markets in the US???

The relevancy of the above link and credibility of the anonymous poster behind it went right into the toilet when, on page 16, the authors wrote "....will be effective in early 1995."

Does any supply management supporter have:

(A) anything relevant?
(B) anything relevant from THIS century?

I mean, really, if a more than 20-year-old general interest, non-detailed summary written for laypeople is the best technical data supply management supporters can muster to support the claim that ALL US dairy milk is subsidized in 2016, theirs is indeed a hopelessly-lost cause!

It's like this - if this is the best evidence the above poster can muster, I strongly suggest he/she not waste any more of anyone's time, including his/her own, by proffering more.

More to the point, everyone knows this is 2016 - how stupid/gullible do supply management supporters think people really are?

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

As I said once you deal with that evidence I will provide you with more. You talk a lot about the US and the past so in the examples you requested and which I provided is there anything you disagree with up to that point?

The cause/effect linkage between what the Cornell-based report on the US dairy industry noted in early 1995 and the on-the-ground reality (whatever it may be) faced by US dairy farmers in 2016, is spurious at best.

For example, on Page 17, in the second-last paragraph of the report, the authors note:

"..... In addition, the recent Congressional approval of two international trade agreements, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT) has given dairy policy an unprecedented international flavor"

The final paragraph of the report goes on to state:

"The change from a Democratic to a Republican Congress in 1995 adds another dimension to the equation for change in dairy policy. The expiration of FACTA at the end of 1995 and the Republicans' promulgation of their agenda to reduce government's role in economic and social policies has left people involved in agriculture to speculate how the changes in Congress will effect the new farm bill. Considerable changes are probable. Major modifications are not made easily, but the difficulty of implementing sweeping changes must be viewed in light of the Republicans' perception of what most citizens want, i.e., reduced government expenditures, less governmental regulation, and lower taxes."

Therefore, the "evidence" provided in the above-noted report would clearly suggest far-less government involvement in the US dairy industry in 2016 than was the case in 1994/95.

In particular, the report's authors noted (see above) that FACTA, the program establishing a US floor price of $10.10 per hundredweight of milk was set to expire at the end of 1995, thereby once again indicating that the role of the US government in subsidizing the US dairy industry was likely to decline rather than stay the same as it had been prior to 1995.

Even if a floor price has been maintained until now, I see no evidence provided to demonstrate:

(A) how often
(B) for how long
(C) in how many states
(D) what percentage of US milk production was covered by a floor-pricing guarantee on an annual basis from 1995 to 2015

In short, there has been no evidence provided by anyone to demonstrate that all US milk production is now, or has ever been, subsidized all the time by US taxpayers in the same way that all Canadian milk production is subsidized all the time by Canadian consumers and has been for over 40 years.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

within the last year ian cumming wrote one of his practical farming articles in ontario farmer and in it said that his farm in the US recieved 18,000.00 in subsidy.

Editor: Anonymous comment deleted in accordance with our guidelines.

As a dairy farmer,why should there be a compensation package?the loss they say is 2.5 -3% of our market.That is no reason to compensate unless we are going to lose a lot more than they say.

Most dairy farmers would be unhappy with a 3% loss of market share.One can only assume you will be selling out in the near future?

Did the Dairy Farmers last year got 10% Quota that was Non Saleable given it to sell it or keep it as Saleable Quota.

By definition, the quota used to produce every ounce of milk to be sold at Class 6 -world prices is worth nothing and therefore, has no value either in use or in trade.

More to the point, what value is quota, and who's going to be dumb enough to buy it, when, as is the case with Class 6 milk, it doesn't return anything more than what would have been received without owning any quota at all?

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

The basic building block of microeconomics.
You must see this, no?

With respect, and on behalf of grammarians everywhere, I see two sentences:

(A) The first has no predicate and is, therefore, an incomplete sentence.
(B) The second, while possessing a subject and a predicate is, nonetheless, mangled syntax.

As for economic principles, people will normally continue to produce until their marginal costs rise and/or their marginal revenues fall, until a point of equilibrium is reached. However, under the quota system used by supply management:

(1) EVERY unit of output is produced/sold with a unit of very-expensive quota affixed to its production and, therefore, the concept of microeconomic-marginalism doesn't apply.
(2) Supply management was designed to prevent farmers from utilizing the marginal cost/marginal revenue principle and relies, instead, on cost-of-production full-costing (see (1) above).

The basic contradiction in the new Class 6 - world pricing scenario is that dairy farmers seem to be still thinking that milk sold this way (at a point far-closer to where marginal costs equal marginal revenue than the full-cost system used by supply management) still justifies paying anything more than zero for the quota needed to produce it.

Indeed, one of the ways often suggested to solve the "problem" of quota values would be to simply issue so-much more quota that the value of all quota would go to zero - DFO, by creating Class 6, is merely doing its part, probably inadvertently, to solve the problem of high quota values.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Your assertion #1 is incorrect. While you rant here against SM, this post shows you don't understand how it works in practice. Farmers will indeed pay zero to produce the incremental volumes.

The inherent problem with supply management is that farmers do produce up to the point where marginal costs and marginal revenues intersect, but it's for the wrong reasons.

It's because in the "supply and command" (a delightfully-descriptive malapropism coined by "Ricky" of the Trailer Park Boys) world of supply management, farmers:

(A) bid up the price of quota to soak up excess cash revenues
(B) allow their cost structure (land, buildings, equipment, labour etc.) to rise to the point where, regardless of what revenue might be generated at any level of production, the cost structure, and cash flow obligation rise to match it. Why else, perchance, would dairy farmers still be the biggest users of the formal farm debt review process?

Supply management was created using the "supply and command" model to remove the ability of farmers to produce up to the point where marginal cost and marginal revenue intersect - production, or supply, was halted at the point where marginal revenues, for most producers, would always be well-above marginal costs, thereby creating the elusive and never well-defined "reasonable return".

The flaw in this well-meaning proposition is that human nature abhors a vacuum and, therefore, marginal costs, at any level of production, will always rise to meet an artificially-created marginal revenue.

Therefore, in item (1) from my previous posting, I was quite correct to point out that supply management was designed to remove economic marginalism on the part of producers. However the anonymous poster was (over-narrowly) correct to point out that in practice, supply managed farmers do produce to the margin, but strategically-ignored mentioning that they do so because they have no incentive to control their input costs.

Therefore, as always, supply management supporters offer, at best, half-truths. For example, the shallowness of the point made by the above poster that quota-owning dairy farmers produce to the margin can be seen by looking at the variable cost/variable revenue structures Mr. Denby and his associates used at the time they were proposing milk exports at a farm-gate price well-below the "cost-of-production" price established by the DFO and the dairy aristocracy.

The difference between the variable cost structure in Mr. Denby's group and the variable costs of quota owners had everything to do with the inconvenient and undeniable truth that quota owners had no incentive then, and have no incentive now, to lower their costs - the losers, of course, are Canadian consumers.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Yet another post showing you don't understand how SM works in practice and apparently don't understand economic man as well. The first is not surprising but the second one is a shock.

You bizarrely state "quota owners had no incentive then, and have no incentive now, to lower their costs".

Ridiculous and easy to disprove.

Let's take two identical 100 cow dairy farms making $1,500 per cow profit for a total annual profit of $150,000. The next year, one of these two farmers then changes several aspects of management to reduce costs by $500 per cow for a total profit of $200,000. These numbers are very realistic examples and easy ranges to find within official published COP farm survey results.

That is a $50,000 incentive. Economic man loves a profit.

Game, set and match.

The above poster conveniently ignores the truth that in the same way a hen is involved with bacon and eggs but a pig is committed, supply managed farmers, like the hen, have only an incentive to lower costs but farmers in the real world have, like the pig, and unlike supply managed farmers, an absolute need to do so.

Therefore, if it would make the above, highly-dismissive poster happy, I could probably have used the term "no need to lower costs" rather than "no incentive to lower costs" because, at the end of the day, dairy and poultry farmers don't have nearly the incentive, need or whatever one wants to call it, as non-supply managed dairy and poultry farmers in the US (if for no other reason than the very existence of cost-of-production pricing), to lower their costs.

The unpalatable truth the above poster is trying to deny/deflect/distort by playing semantics is that regardless of the terminology used to describe what happens to the cost control policies utilized by farmers protected by 200% tariff barriers, Canadian dairy farmers are way-out-of line on their costs when compared to US dairy farmers and supply management gives Canadian farmers no need to do anything about it.

The easiest way to lower costs would be, of course, to abolish quota, thereby bringing costs in line with the US where, according to Mr. Cumming, banks don't lend more than $3,000 per cow, in contrast to Canada where our dairy farmers can easily owe more than $3,000 per cow just on their house.

Finally, in response to the "game, set and match" terminology affected by the above poster, I don't play tennis because it's a waste of time I could better (and have to) spend working trying to keep up with supply managed farmers who, thanks to the cushy lifestyle afforded by 200% tariff barriers, have the time to play tennis.

I much prefer watching the "slam dunk" action of basketball during the winter months and keep imagining that supply management is the ball.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Debt is an increase in today's spending in exchange for a decline in future spending. This is not necessarily always bad except for when the income stream will not cover the principle and interest.
This morning I snowmobiled to Exeter with a friend for coffee. He works in residential real estate. His co-workers are in agricultural and they speak of dairy farm financing where the first 10 years are interest only.
They are expecting inflation to come to the rescue.
They do not fall into the category of good debt.

Raube Beuerman

I have to point out ,I let someone read all the posts that has no knowledge or nothing to do with Farming! They were shocked at how Grown people behave like Kids in a sand box, fighting over you took my spot! Really people stop and read how childish most of theses posts are! People will Support Farmers to there death ,they need to eat every day and unless they can grow it they have no choice! It is good to make your point ,but to carry on for days is addictive and everyone NEEDS TO GET OUT OF THE SAND BOX! Bill Denby

Comment modifed by editor

I disagree with Mr. Denby about many things but I respect and admire the fact that he has the grace and courage to dignify his comments by telling us that he made them.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

I'm not sure what the problem was with the post I submitted earlier-and I did sign it.

Maybe it was short on substance, but the gist of it was that Mr. Denby's friend could also post here and I was also curious to know if Mr. Denby had shown this friend of his posts from last year when Mr. Denby was not so fond of supply management.

Raube Beuerman

As a kid if you grew up on a farm with a sandbox you learned very early that cats used it every chance they got and were not your friend . The other lesson was that tom cats were always looking for a scrap and sprayed every thing in sight . Sooner or later the old tom would get replaced ! Some times by his own doing . We have a tom cat that thinks he owns the better farming sandbox .

On the front page of the ROB section of yesterday's Globe and Mail, reporter Barrie McKenna noted:

"In a policy about-face, senior Quebec bureaucrat Florent Gagne is urging the province to end strict maple-syrup quotas and let producers sell what they want, to who they want."

McKenna goes on to note at the end of his article:

"At some point, policy makers in Quebec and other provinces will reach the same conclusion as Mr. Gagne - that to thrive in the global economy, dairy and poultry producers will also need to be free"

Indeed, why all the dawdling, dickering, delaying and stone-walling by the dairy industry over TPP and CETA as well as DFO sticking only one toe in the water with Class 6 world pricing?

Could it be because, gasp:

(A) dairy farmers have quota equity hi-jacked from consumers to defend while maple syrup producers don't?
(B) dairy farmers don't want to be "all in it together" with other farmers?

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

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