January 23, 2018
For Immediate Release

Is the Ball Government Advocating For Local Poultry, Egg and Dairy Industries?

Jim Lester, Agrifoods Critic for the Official Opposition, is asking, “With the Trump administration apparently targeting all of Canada’s trade products, is the Ball government fighting hard to safeguard this province’s poultry, egg and dairy industries, which sustain local jobs, support regional economies and give us a measure of food security?”

This month, Quebec’s agricultural cooperative federation (La Coop fédérée) released a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC Canada) on the economic impact of changes to Canada’s supply management system for poultry and eggs. The report concluded that the replacement of Canada’s supply management system would cost Canada 58,000 to 80,000 full-time jobs, $4.6 to 6.3 billion in lost GDP per year, and the loss of family farms and social cohesion in farming areas. That’s because American producers have larger-scale enterprises with lower labour costs, lower quality standards and lower feed prices with higher subsidies. However, replacing locally grown products with imported products would probably not provide a significant benefit to consumers. Rather, it would expose consumers to significant price fluctuations while offering them a lower-quality product.

The Ball Liberals’ Way Forward document commits that: “By 2022, Newfoundland and Labrador will have increased its food self-sufficiency to at least 20 per cent. Our province is currently only about ten per cent self-sufficient in its food requirements.”

Lester said, “All parties in this province recognize the importance of increasing food security in Newfoundland and Labrador by producing more of the food we consume. The loss of supply management in the poultry and egg sectors would drive us in the other direction, and could negatively impact our local dairy industry, making our economy less sustainable and more reliant on imported food while costing our province agricultural enterprises and the jobs they sustain.”

“We need to stand together and fight any efforts by the Trump administration or others to do away with the supply management system, which balances local supply and demand while setting prices at reasonable levels for the benefit of consumers, producers and the local economy,” said Lester.

“With all sectors of the Canadian economy in America’s crosshairs, we have to ensure our best interests aren’t left on the sidelines or bartered away. Our forest industry is also in the crosshairs, and other sectors are uneasy. As one of the ten equal partners in Confederation, we need to ensure our voice is heard as loudly and clearly as any other in this country,” said Lester.

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Media Contact:
Heather MacLean, Director of Operations and Communications, Office of the Official Opposition
(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca