Ottawa announces $1.75B to compensate dairy farmers for impact of trade deals

COMPTON, Que. — Canadian dairy farmers who lost domestic market share resulting from free trade agreements with Europe and countries on the Pacific Rim will share $1.75 billion in compensation over the next eight years, Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced Friday.

The country’s roughly 11,000 dairy producers — about half of whom are in Quebec — will receive $345 million to be distributed this year, Bibeau told reporters on a farm in Compton, Que. She promised a similar program when the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement comes into force.

The sums will be allocated according to producers’ quotas, with an average farmer with a herd of 80 cows receiving $28,000 in the first year. Bibeau added her party has committed to no longer cede market share in the dairy sector in future international free trade negotiations.

She also rejected accusations that Friday’s announcement — two months before October’s federal election — was a ploy for votes.

“In terms of financial mechanisms, there is a lot of complexity,” Bibeau said. “The producers of dairy, eggs and poultry each had their preferences in terms of financial mechanisms. So with all this complexity … that’s what explains the delays. So, it’s not really about an electoral timeline.”

The Liberal government’s March budget earmarked $2.15 billion to help farmers who lose income because of the trade deals with Europe and the Pacific Rim, both of which make it easier for foreign egg, dairy and poultry producers to enter the Canadian market.

Bibeau said negotiations are ongoing between the federal government and egg and poultry farmers, for a separate compensation program. She said money for those farmers will be available “as quickly as possible.”

Jacques Lefebvre, chief executive officer of Dairy Farmers of Canada, said the government’s commitment is “a very good announcement.” But he said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made two promises to his members.

“The first one was to compensate, and he’s followed through on that,” Lefebvre said.

“The other one is there would be no future concessions in any new trade deals, and we’ll be very vigilant on that one.”

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the Liberals’ plan is the “exact same formula” the Conservatives put forward under Stephen Harper’s government before the 2015 election.

“I know a lot of producers are concerned it took this long,” he told reporters in Moncton, N.B. “This is the same plan that Conservatives originally put on the table. This would be in line with what a Conservative government would do and has done in the past, and has proposed in the past.”

Scheer added Trudeau “gave away” too much to U.S. President Donald Trump during negotiations of the new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement.

Just Posted

Canadian annual inflation rate 1.9% last month as lower gas prices weigh on rate

OTTAWA — The annual inflation rate was 1.9 per cent in September… Continue reading

China’s Huawei reports sales gain despite US sanctions

BEIJING — Chinese tech giant Huawei on Wednesday reported a double-digit gain… Continue reading

Alberta introduces legislation to modernize ranch fees, grazing leases

EDMONTON — Alberta is modernizing the rent and fees ranchers and cattle… Continue reading

Pot use admission at U.S. border snagging Canadian boomers, says lawyer

VICTORIA — Canadians wanting to cross the U.S. border are being asked… Continue reading

City of Red Deer to explore better — but not costlier — ways of residential snow plowing

Too many public complaints came in last winter, says city councillor

Your community calendar

Wednesday Red Deer River Naturalists Flower Focus Group Meeting. When: Oct. 16… Continue reading

Michael Dawe: 50 years later, everyone still gushes over a modern school

Friday, Oct. 4, the new Westpark Middle School officially opened. This very… Continue reading

Davies, Cavallini score as Canada men end 34-year winless run against U.S.

TORONTO — After years of watching from the cheap seats as the… Continue reading

Strong off-season has Canada’s Moore-Towers and Marinaro feeling optimistic

The Canadian figure skating scene underwent a dramatic change last season after… Continue reading

Country singer Dallas Harms, who helped jump-start Ronnie Hawkins’ career, dies at 84

TORONTO — Canadian country singer Dallas Harms, who sparked a number of… Continue reading

Alberta government won’t seek meeting with teen enviro-activist Greta Thunberg

EDMONTON — The Alberta government won’t seek out a meeting with teen… Continue reading

Michael Frolik gets goal in 800th NHL game, Flames down Flyers

Flames 3 Flyers 1 CALGARY — Michael Frolik scored in his 800th… Continue reading

Most Read