Supply Management

The Globe and Mail, ever the watchful agent protecting corporate interests, published a column arguing that Canada’s supply management system for eggs and dairy should be ended (paywall, archive).

I love how people think removing supply management will make dairy and eggs cheaper. They think prices are being artificially inflated, but that’s true only when other factors would forces prices down and force egg and dairy farms out of business. Supply management makes sure these business stay in place, and it keeps the prices level – and the supply steady – when other factors make eggs and milk more expensive.

John Manley, who authors the article, cites New Zealand as an example. “Today, after having done away with tariffs and subsidies, the dairy industry is New Zealand’s biggest export industry.” But what has also happened is that New Zealand’s primary industries are being sold off. New Zealanders aren’t making money from their industries; Americans are.

Without supply management, the industry would be acquired by multinationals in short order. That’s what’s happening in wheat right now, following the sale of the Wheat Board by the Harper government to foreign interests (see, eg., “reduce producer income by approximately $770 million annually” ). With a virtual monopoly over supply, they would force people to pay higher costs, squeezing the market for whatever it can. Again, that’s what we see in wheat (see the rise in prices for wheat-based food products, 2023).

This is what happens, over and over. Conservative government sell key parts of the Canadian economy to foreign interests, then blame Liberals for the negative economic fallout, including lower wages and higher prices.

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