The bill would ensure the federal government doesn’t make market access concessions in future trade deals for supply managed products
By Diego Flammini
A national ag organization has voiced its support for a bill in the House of Commons that would affect future trade deals.
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is in favour of Bill C-282.
The bill, introduced by Bloc Québécois MP Luc Thériault in June 2022, calls for an amendment to trade law ensuring the federal government doesn’t make any market access concessions in future trade deals for supply managed products.
Between CETA, CPTPP and CUSMA negotiations, by 2024 about 18 per cent of dairy products in Canada will have originated in other countries. And the federal government has provided multiple rounds of compensation for dairy producers in response.
Federal lawmakers have committed to protecting supply management in future trade deals.
“I would like to reiterate our government’s commitment not to concede any further market shares under supply management during future trade negotiations,” Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in November 2022 following the release of the Fall Economic Statement.
But supporting and passing Bill C-282 would see that promise become law, and provide stability for farmers in supply-managed sectors, said Mary Robinson, president of the CFA.
“It can be frustrating to watch promises fizzle when push comes to shove, and supply-managed farmers have seen successive governments renege on their promise to not allow further market access for supply-managed products,” she said in a Feb. 8 statement. “By voting for this Bill, politicians will be able to show their true support for supply-managed farmers and allow those farmers to rely on the law rather than rhetoric.”
Dairy Farmers of Canada is pleased to see Bill C-282 proceed to the next stage.
MPs from every party supported the bill.
“#CdnDairy farmers welcome the adoption of Bill C-282 at 2nd reading. We would like to thank the Liberals, NDP, Bloc Québécois, Greens, and the CPC MPs who supported the legislation. We will continue to work with all parties to defend the supply management system,” the organization said on Twitter.
The bill now moves to the committee stage.
“Bill #C282 passes 2nd reading and is referred to the Standing Committee on International Trade #CIIT!” Minister Bibeau tweeted on Feb. 8. “Collaborating with the Bloc Québécois is possible, especially for a good cause such as enshrining the protection of supply-managed sectors in legislation.”
The bill had its second reading in the House of Commons on Feb. 8. It passed by a vote of 293 to 23. Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and NDP Agriculture Critic Alistair MacGregor voted in favour of the bill.
John Barlow, the Conservative agriculture critic, was not present in the House for the vote.