Dairy farmers say time for trade compensation is now


The Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is calling on the federal government to keep its promise on compensation for dairy farmers, stemming from international trade deals that allowed for dairy product access into Canada’s supply managed value chain.

“When a dairy farmer makes a commitment, his or her word is gold. We hold our government to the same standard — a promise made should be a promise kept,” the producer group says in a letter to the federal government.

Market access compensation in the last three trade deals was the promise, but the return on that promise has not been clear. David Wiens, a farmer from Manitoba and vice president of DFC, recently joined Shaun Haney to discuss the letter.

“There were commitments made at the time the trade deals were signed, and ratified, and yet at the same time, it’s vagueness after that,” says Wiens. Compensation to DFC was mentioned in the most recent throne speech by the prime minister, but when the ministers of agriculture and finance were approached, a clear cut answer on what the payment schedule hasn’t been provided, he says.

“We understand Canada has been hit with this pandemic, as countries world-wide have been, so we kind of held off on this for some time, so that the government of Canada could deal with the pandemic situation,” says Wiens. “We waited, and in the meantime, they managed to ratify CUSMA, they were one of the first countries to find the time to ratify CUSMA,” he adds.

The USMCA was agreed to being on August 1, when in fact it was ratified for July 1, creating a one month long dairy “year,” as a normal year starts on July 31, adding damage to the industry, Wiens says.

Wiens makes it clear that the DFC is asking for compensation as a result of trade agreements, not as a result of the pandemic.

Listen in on the full conversation between Wiens and Haney below:

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