Ottawa September 26, 2023. Taking over from the 262 Members of Parliament, or nearly 80% of the House of Commons, Quebec Senator Amina Gerba brought the cause of Supply Management to the Senate by sponsoring Bill C-282 which aims at strengthening the protection of an essential policy for Canadians.
In her speech, the senator recalled the impact of this policy which extends its protection to all regions of the country. She also recalled that the supply management policy ensures significant income for agricultural producers and quality products for Canadian consumers. Likewise, she pointed out that this policy strongly contributes to maintaining economic activity in many rural regions which would otherwise be swept away by the cycle of decline. Moreover, Senator Gerba declared that the protection of supply management is today, more than ever, an issue of food sovereignty:
“The COVID-19 health crisis allowed us to see the scourge of the relocation of our production. This period shed a harsh light on dependencies we had no idea about. It has shown the urgent need to build local and resilient supply chains around essential common goods such as health, education, transport, communication, security, and food.”
For more than 50 years, supply management policy has been intended to protect agricultural markets against price fluctuations. It covers the milk, eggs (consumption and hatching) and poultry markets. These supply-managed sectors account for nearly 350,000 jobs, contribute $30 billion to Canadian GDP and generate $7 billion in tax revenue.
The bill, entitled An Act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act (supply management) aims to fully safeguard the supply management system. In all future trade negotiations, the minister responsible for international trade must refrain from undermining supply management, which cannot be used as a bargaining chip. Thus extracted from international negotiations, this essential policy for Canadians will be preserved and its economic, social and regional benefits sustained.
The erosion of supply management policy that has occurred during the last 3 free trade treaty negotiations, namely the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) can not occur in the future. Supply management will benefit from the full protection afforded to it by the bill.
Senator Gerba forcefully argued that supply management makes it possible, among other things, to recognize the demanding work of agricultural producers and the economic and social importance of their field of activity. In addition, it allows a family farm model, supports agriculture on a human scale and on short circuits which reduce Canada’s carbon footprint and extends the economic vitality of the country throughout the territory.
Office of the Honourable Amina Gerba
SENATE OF CANADA