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.

Dairy Farmers

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Hub on Ross has announced it has permanently closed. (Photo courtesy The Hub on Ross Facebook page)
The Hub on Ross in Red Deer to permanently close

The Hub on Ross in Red Deer permanently closed on Wednesday. “The… Continue reading

There were 410 COVID-19 cases recorded in Alberta Wednesday. (File photo)
Alberta records 410 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Central zone dropped to 160 active cases

Shaun Isaac, owner of Woodchucker Firewood in Trochu, is awaiting a new shipment during a firewood shortage in the province. All of the wood he has left is being saved for long-time customers who need it to heat their homes. (Contributed photo).
Firewood shortage in central Alberta caused by rising demand, gaps in supply

‘I’ve said “No” to more people than ever’: firewood seller

The Red Deer Senior Citizens Downtown House reopened earlier this month, after closing in March due to the pandemic. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Red Deer Senior Citizens Downtown House reopens

The Red Deer Senior Citizens Downtown House was closed for months due… Continue reading

Guy Pelletier, vice-president of the Red Deer region for Melcor Developments. (Contributed photo).
Melcor has to redesign new neighbourhood after Molly Banister decision

City council disagreed with administration’s recommendation to scrap road plans

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

The Bank of Canada building is seen in Ottawa, Wednesday, April 15, 2020. The Bank of Canada will release its updated outlook for the country's pandemic-plagued economy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Bank of Canada holds rate steady, says COVID-19 economic recovery likely by 2022

Bank of Canada holds rate steady, says COVID-19 economic recovery likely by 2022

Husky Energy logo is shown at the company's annual meeting in Calgary on May 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Husky pipeline spills 900,000 litres of produced water in northwestern Alberta

Husky pipeline spills 900,000 litres of produced water in northwestern Alberta

A traffic light on Bay Street in Canada's financial district is shown in Toronto on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. A new report says a culture of inequality continues to persist in Canada's capital markets and the brunt of it is felt by women and people who are racialized, Indigenous or identify as LGBTQ2S+. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Inequality in capital markets sector continues to hurt women, BIPOC and LGBTQ: report

Inequality in capital markets sector continues to hurt women, BIPOC and LGBTQ: report

Financial numbers are seen on the digital ticker tape at the TMX Group in Toronto's financial district on Friday, May 9, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
COVID-19 infection spike pushes S&P/TSX composite to more than three-month low

COVID-19 infection spike pushes S&P/TSX composite to more than three-month low

Former Deputy Prime Minister Don Mazankowski and author of the Mazankowski report addresses the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada in Calgary on April 30, 2002. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Don Mazankowski, former Alberta MP and cabinet minister, dies at 85

EDMONTON — Donald Frank Mazankowski, a former Tory deputy prime minister, has… Continue reading

After an epic seven game series in the Heritage Junior B Hockey League, the Sylvan Lake Wranglers and Red Deer Vipers will get the 2020-21 season started with a four-game mini-series. Game 1 will be played Friday night in Sylvan Lake. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Wranglers, Vipers set to tangle in HJHL season opener

Playoff hockey in October? Not exactly, but when the Red Deer Vipers… Continue reading

Sharon Hickin, general manager of the Days Inn Sylvan Lake and the new Lake House Diner, poses for a photo outside the new restaurant. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Pandemic puts extra hurdles in place for new Sylvan Lake businesses

Over the past seven months numerous new businesses have opened in Sylvan Lake, despite the pandemic

Most Read