A private Members’ bill, aimed at protecting supply management, passed second reading in the House of Commons on February 8 with the support of the Liberals.
Bill C-282, which was introduced last June by Bloc Québécois MP Luc Theriault, would amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act, to stop any further concessions in international trade agreements that negatively impact Canada’s supply managed production of dairy, eggs, chicken, and turkey. The Bill will now be referred to the standing committee on international trade for consideration.
“This additional step in favour of our bill confirms the relevance of our agricultural model,” said the Bloc Québécois leader, Yves-François Blanchet. “It is about providing our agricultural entrepreneurs with the predictability and peace of mind, to ensure the development of this major industry by giving it the protection required in future international trade agreements,” he added.
The Bloc Québécois’ move to legislate the protection of supply management stemmed from a series of loopholes in recent international agreements, including the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), the Canada-E.U. free trade agreement (CETA), and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) that resulted in trade concessions and promises of compensation for Canadian farmers. The concessions were made despite commitments made by the government on five occasions, by way of motions in the House of Commons, to protect supply-managed production. “If the bill goes through, these commitments will finally have to be honoured,” says Salaberry-Suroît MNA Claude DeBellefeuille.
“We are pleased that the Liberals have rallied to our position in order to provide the agricultural economy the support it deserves,” says DeBellefeuille. “Agriculture is a very important economic sector, but it’s more than that: it represents a healthy, fair model of management that favours agriculture on a human scale.” (SR)