C-282 is a house made of sticks, not bricks

by

Opinion

In the tale of the three little pigs, our three little friends continue to make false assumptions of their safety based on the construction material of their house. It was not until the third little pig constructed a house of bricks that the wolf had met his match no matter how strong his huff and puff was.

A fairy tale this is indeed, but Canada’s supply management sector is falling victim to securing its future with a house made of sticks and not bricks in an attempt to protect itself from the big bad wolf of the United States (and other countries) and its quest to secure additional market access.

Bill 282 is a Private Member’s Bill that will prevent Canada’s trade negotiators from being able to negotiate away future market access for dairy, poultry, or eggs. The bill received bi-partisan support in the House of Commons and is now in second reading in the Senate.

Farm groups have asked senators to be the “sober second thought” on this bill that essentially attempts to tie the hands of Canada’s trade negotiators in the future.

In talking to policy influencers in Canada and the U.S., the reaction is the same. Legislators and trade negotiators will not care that Canada has defended itself with sticks and will demand Canada fix its weak position. Canada will not be able to fend off an angry huff and puffing American dairy sector with weak spindly legislation.

The way I see it, the recent ruling of the USMCA/CUSMA dispute resolution panel has done nothing but increase the resolve of the U.S. dairy sector as it pushes for the market access it desires in the 2026 trade agreement renegotiation. Exportable commodities, such as canola, wheat, beef, and pork, are concerned that they will become the target or will suffer losing what they already have in current agreements.

For supply management boosters, C-282 is a house made of bricks, but I say the legislation provides a false sense of security for the sector and is nothing more than a house made of sticks. If Canada really wants to fend off the big bad wolf American trade negotiators it will have to do more than build a house of sticks.

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