Supply management is unfair to Canadian consumers

“…Because of our highly regulated, government-enforced dairy market, put in place by Pierre Trudeau in 1971, Canadian families pay about 40% more for milk, cheese, yogurt, butter and other items from the dairy case than they would in a freer market.

And please, spare me the nationalistic hogspit that our closed-door policy is needed to protect Canada’s little-guy dairy producers from Big Milk. The truth is our antiquated, Trudeau-socialist, dairy policies are mostly just protecting a shrinking number of ever larger and larger Canadian producers, mostly in Quebec and Ontario.

When Daddy Trudeau brought in our closed-border rules (rules that come from the same mindset that gave Canada the National Energy Policy and the Foreign Investment Review Agency), there were over 100,000 dairy farmers in the country. Today, there are just over 11,000. And they produce more litres of milk per year than all the farmers did when there were 10 times as many.”

  • SDMatt

    Butter costs waaaay too much, cheese – apparently the market has been cornered by Saputo in Quebec – is bland rubber, and grated Parmesan is pure sawdust.

    • It is crap.

      • xavier

        Funny just later week had an article highlighting how Quebec has lost 25% of its dairy farms.

        Proof that we need a free market in diary

        • Shebel

          but they produce more milk—

          • xavier

            Why? They’re protected no matter what they do or not so.
            Hence why bother?

          • Shebel

            because there is a demand for the milk. Farmers must fill the demand.

    • Reader

      I believe the tariff on imported butter to Canada is 275%.

      I wonder what the egg, milk and cheese tariffs might be?

      It is all to support the Quebec dairy industry at the expense of all Canadians including Quebecers.

      • canminuteman

        I think most butter is impossible to import. My local deli had some butter imported from New Zealand, and I asked him about it. He said he could get it because it was specifically “grass fed” butter, which doesn’t exist in Canada so he is allowed to import it. That being said, it was ten dollars for a half pound block.

        I have had butter in France and it is a totally different product than what we get as butter. It has a lower moisture content so it has a texture that people cut it into chunks and eat it like cheese. I would love to be able to get it here.

        • Observer

          It sure is unprofitable to import to Ontario from New York state if you add a 275% tariff!

          • canminuteman

            You are right, yet we get cheeses from France and Denmark that sell for less that Canadian cheese, and they probably have the same 275% tariff on them.

            I like cheese and regularly buy English, French and Dutch cheeses, but some of them are 75$ a kilo.

  • BillyHW

    Is everyone in Canada on the take?

    • If your a Liberal yes.

    • Maggat

      Pretty much, gov’t, unions. Not much chance for the rest of us, unfortunately.

  • canminuteman

    I went to my local butcher/deli to get some nice cheese before Christmas, and he was out of everything I wanted. I asked him when he would get more and he told me it was sitting in sea containers waiting to be released in the new year when the new quota quantity became available.

    I remember reading how New Zealand used to have a system like ours that vested interests wanted to keep in place. Then they got rid of it and the New Zealand dairy industry became huge as they started to export to markets all over Asia, Africa and the middle east. Canada could likely do the same given the chance.

    • Interesting.

    • Clink9

      Sounds like the Monty Python sketch:

      • canminuteman

        That is exactly what it was like!!

    • El Martyachi

      Milk is routinely poured when quotas are exceeded.

  • Alain

    Canada’s supply management system does not protect little-guy producers from Big Milk (or any of the other products under supply management); in fact it protects the big guys and drives out or even makes it impossible for the little guy to compete or enter the market, which keeps prices higher. That is a serious problem even within Canada, and oh, the only province that is protected from competition from the rest of Canada is Quebec for anything agricultural. One good accomplishment by Harper was the elimination of the CWB, so the same thing needs to be done with all the rest.

    • Regulatory capture seems inevitable under any government oversight scheme.

  • Dana Garcia

    Too bad Justin doesn’t have a closed-border policy regarding illegal aliens.

    But certainly cows should be free to do their thing.

  • terrence22

    Fortunately, I live close enough to the border with the good ol’ US of A, and I have a NEXUS card (which means I can basically DRIVE across the border). The last time I was down, the signs estimated it would take 35 to 40 minutes to cross with a passport; it took me all of 5 minutes.

    I picked up some Kerry Gold Butter at the Costco in Bellingham, WA; a pound and a half cost $10.21 CDN (it is made in Ireland from cows that only eat grass, and is DELICIOUS). I saw half a pound somewhere in the BC Lower Mainland for about $5.5 per half a pound.

    I also buy cheese at the same place (what I call CLEAN cheese – it has no additives), just cultured pasteurized milk, and Jalapeno Pepper pieces. Two and a half pounds cost $7.99 USD ($10.60 CDN).

    I also buy 24 Costco Organic Free Range eggs for $8.50 CDN.. I have seem similar, but not as clean, eggs cost that much per dozen.

    Needless to saw the price of gas is about HALF in WA compared to what it costs here in the BC Lower Mainland.

    Oh, well. Someone told me that BC means British Columbia, but it also, REALLY means “Bring Cash”.

  • ntt1

    get rid of planned production but be aware that new labeling requirements will be needed to inform consumers of import milk that may contain growth hormons, Labeling should inform consumers of the use of raw unpasturized milk to protect the fledgling artisan cheese industries In BCs interior and the southend of Vancouver Island.Quebec has a world famous cheese industry inpart due to liberal favouring of quebec issues for many many decades, Apparently pasturized milk no longer behaves like milk and affects the cheese textures

  • marty_p

    Niagara Falls NY – Aldi store – Milk is $1.79 USD for a 3.8L (US gallon) and eggs were 55 cents for a dozen large – various cheeses sliced, shredded or brick average $3.99 lb.
    ‘Nuff said.

  • Gary

    I remember when margarine was not allowed to look like butter. So would buy the 1lb block that was white and it came with a small plastic pack with an orange dye where you tore it open and mashed the marge after you poured the dye in and then put it in a dish to chill in the fridge.
    Most times we just let the margarine white when we used it on warm toast .

    back around that time it was tough to get the high quality Scale Model car kit from Detroit if you live in quebec because of the new Bi-lingual laws where the company refused to print new boxes and instruction just to ship into Quebec.
    The new language law had all Canadian products with label in both languages.

    Whats so funny today now that Trudeau is dead , his son campaigns in Toronto where French is spit on because the City has over 100 languages spoken and my last Toronto calendar for garbage pick-up had french listed 3 behind spanish and mandarin .

    Typical Liberal brain with NO foresight to just flood canada with over 60 nationalities and 120 languages while expecting the nation to stay Bilingual with the same values and low crime.

    • I remember that as well.

    • Maggat

      My mother (God bless her) made it my job to squish the dye capsule in the bag and knead it into the a nice smooth (yuk) yellow grease. I’ve hated margarine ever since.

      • Gary

        The man that invented that was played in a Movie by Greg Kinnear because his other Invention was the fully Electronic variable Wiper Blade speed control that FORD stole from him as GM and Chrysler did as well.
        Here’s a short clip that was filmed at Toronto’s City Hall because Hamilton was also included as they both look like Detroit (1970) for the houses and waterfront .

  • Shebel

    Why this silly focus on the price of Dairy products to consumers? It is dumb.
    Canadians farmers say that they are not subsidized by the taxpayer and the Americans are— Whom cares ? It is ALL bullshit.
    You are thinking the way that THEY want you to think.
    You are being led by the nose.

    I could be wrong on some of this -so ,I stand to be corrected if need be. You would need a PHD and a Doctorate in Supply Management—-to even hope to understand.
    I will stick to Ontario.

    QUOTA in handed out FREE.
    Yet,the moment a farmer gets his hands on it -it becomes worth $24000/cow.
    And—according to Maxime Bernier the taxpayer would have to pay this when he dismantles it. Quebec farmers own 37 % of Canadian quota and Maxime lives in the Heartland of Dairy farmers.
    Does he want to destroy their ‘way of life’—- or does he have an ulterior motive ? It is kind of suspicious.

    Did you know that Quebec dictates the price of milk at the Retail level ?
    Do you know why the price of milk was capped at $25,000/ cow and then lowered to $24,000/ cow ? You probably have no idea how much that cost the taxpayer but it is does sound good when promoted by the DFO.

    This focus on the Producers (farmers) pales in comparison to the Processors and the collusion with the corrupt Politicians.

    It is a long story of Corruption and Greed.

    • Alain

      No, quota is not handed out free. At the very beginning of supply management it was, but that was a very long time ago. You have to purchase quota if you want to produce anything under supply management, and very few can afford to do so.

      You are however correct that it is the processors or middle man who profit, not the farmers even those with quota in most cases. I recall when due to the mad cow scare, farmers were getting nothing or next to nothing for healthy cattle for beef, yet the price of beef in the stores never dropped a cent. So yes it is a case of corporate greed and corrupt politicians.

      • Shebel

        What does the government charge for new quota in Ontario or any place else for that matter ?

        • Alain

          Please provide the proof.

          • Shebel

            In 2015 when the TPP was being negotiated -Dairy farmers pulled a fast move

            All non-saleable quota is being eliminated as of the
            administration and operation of the August quota exchange. Currently
            about 10 per cent of Ontario farmers’ quota holdings are non-saleable
            because “of the quota increases we’ve had in the past years,” Dietrich
            says. Dairy Farmers does not allow farmers to sell quota added to a
            producer’s holdings as a part of general increases given to all dairy
            producers in the province.
            The capped quota price is dropping to $24,000 per kilogram from
            $25,000 per kilogram starting with the August quota exchange. Dietrich
            says the conversion of non-saleable to saleable quota “increased the
            assets of the farmer. To counter that somewhat we did reduce the (quota
            price) by $1,000. At the end of the day, it’s still a bit of a net gain
            to the producers.”
            Effective immediately, all future quota increases will be saleable.
            Previously, general quota increases given to all farmers were
            non-saleable while general quota decreases were taken from producers’
            non-saleable quota amount.
            Starting immediately, farmers selling on-going dairy farms must sell 10 per cent of their quota on the exchange.
            As of Aug. 1, farmers can apply to establish a linked facility,
            which means a farmer who has a barn that isn’t big enough for the cows
            needed to fill all of their quota will be able to produce milk on two
            different properties, under the same license, for up to five years. The
            properties have to be within 10 kilometres of each other. During the
            five-year time period, the expectation is they would build a new
            structure, such as a new barn with larger capacity, Dietrich says. After
            the five years, the quota that was split in two would “come back as one
            into the new barn.”

            As the article states this ‘non-salable’ quota was given FREE to existing farmers over the years to meet increasing demand. This amounted to 10% of the usable quota. They did Not own it.

            Since farmers make the rules and the taxpayer PAYS for these rules—-they simple stated that all ‘non-salable’ quota is suddenly ‘Salable’ —which means they OWN it.

            It was FREE.

            In other words—If you milk 1000 cows you just granted yourselves and extra $2,500,000. — which the taxpayer in now on the hook for.

            So-if you ever wonder how supply managed farmers are are able to distort land prices to the detriment of non supply managed farmers—- this should help.

          • Alain

            That is what I said that when it started the quota was free, but that has not been the case for many years. I rest my case that milk quota or any other quota is not free, and you must be able to purchase it in order to produce what is covered under the quota.

          • Shebel

            Somewhere, we are on a different planet. .
            Non-saleable quota was FREE.
            The day they made it saleable. it was still FREE except it had a value of $24000/ cow if the farmer sold it or did not sell it.
            It was FREE. Sans cost.
            Why is this Difficult for you?

          • Alain

            No, not on a different planet, but since I have had family members, friends and neighbours who were dairy farmers in Nova Scotia, Quebec and BC I know for a fact they had to purchase quota. It was far from free, and if they wanted to increase production they had to purchase more quota. So I shall not continue trying to argue with you on the subject.

          • Shebel

            OK -Alain—
            You are speaking about Quota that is already in the System . In a finite system. It has a value . ie—A farmer gets out of dairy and sells his Quota–the Right to sell milk.
            It has a value,
            I am speaking about a hypothetical situation where Canada is suddenly short of Dairy products—-
            They need to add to the POOL of available quota.. OK?
            Do they sell it or do they give it ?
            Who gets this quota, which is the right to produce more milk, at a guaranteed price and profit?
            Is it the guy starting out—-?
            Does anybody pay for it–

          • Shebel

            You ask me to give proof.
            There is NO proof.
            New quota is given FREE to existing farmers under a complex formula that most Dairy farmers would have a very difficult job to explain.

            Maybe , Ezra , should interview a few young guys that would like to farm Dairy or Feathers , within the system.

            They would probably tell the Truth.

          • Shebel

            The GOVERMENT does not charge for Quota.
            Farmers operate on a Black Market scheme .
            Think taxis and Uber—

  • I was tweeted this, the site, claims to refute all arguments against Supply Side

  • Shebel

    and they are correct in everything they say—–
    It is what they don’t say.

    I support Supply Management.
    It could be a good system—
    If totally reformed.

    • shasta

      “support Supply Management. It could be a good system”

      That sounds like “I support communism, it could be a good system”.

      Government rigging the system in favour of one group over another is never a good idea. The only “protection” that dairy farmers or any other group should expect from government is protection from foreign governments trying to aid their producers to compete unfairly.

      • Shebel

        It is not the Gov’t rigging the system—–

  • Tooth&Claw

    Heath Canada has banned the use of RBGH in our milk supply due to its link to cancers. The U.S. has not.
    That’s a concern that needs to be addressed.

    • Shebel

      If it is banned in Canada—-Why is it a concern ?

      • Tooth&Claw

        You don’t think that under renegotiated trade agreements that the U.S won’t ask for entry or try to flood the market with cheap milk?

        • Shebel

          So—I guess that all Canadian milk inspectors will just forget about the LAW ?
          You people sure are afraid of the USA.
          This is a ‘Tempest in a Teapot’—-

    • shasta

      I haven’t noticed an upsurge of milk induced cancers in the U.S.; have you?

      The American Cancer Society summarizes the topic as follows.

      “The available evidence shows that the use of rBGH can cause adverse
      health effects in cows. The evidence for potential harm to humans is
      inconclusive. It is not clear that drinking milk produced using rBGH
      significantly increases IGF-1 levels in humans or adds to the risk of
      developing cancer. More research is needed to help better address these

      The increased use of antibiotics to treat rBGH-induced mastitis does
      promote the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but the extent
      to which these are transmitted to humans is unclear.

      The American Cancer Society (ACS) has no formal position regarding rBGH.”

      In other words there has been no problems found for people, but if you give us some more money we will keep looking.

      • Tooth&Claw

        Frankly I don’t trust the American Cancer society. You may go right ahead.

        • shasta

          “You may go right ahead.”

          Unfortunately not in Canada. You can’t fart here without government permission.