Update: Citing the Conservative Party of Canada’s support for supply management as one of his reasons, Maxime Bernier announced on Thursday afternoon that he has left the party with the intention of starting a new federal conservative party.
Delegates are arriving in Halifax for the Conservative Party of Canada’s policy convention where there will be a focus on many of the issues that will be debated in the 2019 federal election campaign.
Immigration and taxes will be on the agenda, but what about the big agricultural issue that’s been in the spotlight as part of the NAFTA talks? Will the Conservatives’ policy on supply management be debated and voted on at this week’s convention?
Supply management in dairy, eggs and poultry has traditionally has been one of the only federal policies that all political parties agree on. In fact, Members of Parliament argue in the House of Commons about who supports supply management more.
Although no doubt, some Conservative MPs question the policy, one of the only MPs to publicly step out against it has been Maxime Bernier, who made it one of his major policy planks during his run in the Conservative Party leadership campaign a year ago.
Morgan: “Why is Trudeau willing to risk economic Armageddon over a sector that constitutes less than one per cent of GDP?”
More importantly, why is my party still defending the cartel and backing the Trudeau Liberals in putting all of Canada’s economy at risk? https://t.co/pKk27dwSla
— Maxime Bernier (@MaximeBernier) August 22, 2018
This week on RealAg Radio, I talked to Foothills MP and the Conservatives’ associate shadow agriculture critic, John Barlow, about whether he expects supply management will get any significant time on the convention agenda.
Barlow welcomed the debate of supply management at convention: “I think certainly it will be an issue debated at convention and that is healthy.” At the same time, Barlow made clear, “When you look at the issues to be brought up at convention, it was one of the issues that received the lowest amounts of votes to be included in the agenda.”
Bernier has kept his distaste for supply management in the media spotlight mainly through tweets as of late, which no doubt creates stress for Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. Even with Bernier, and other public commentators like Sylvain Charlebois and Andrew Coyne frequently speaking out against the system, Barlow felt the Conservative party would not be changing its stance on the issue this weekend.
“Once the convention is over, supply management will continue to be something that, as Conservatives, we support,” forecasted Barlow.
Barlow made it clear to the RealAg Radio audience that rural crime and the carbon tax were much bigger priorities for conservatives attending the Halifax convention that would get much more attention.