Alberta’s Dairy Farmers’ Statement on NAFTA
For Immediate Release: August 14, 2017
EDMONTON, AB – August 14 marks the formal commencement of the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The 520 dairy farmers in Alberta remain confident in the Government’s position to defend supply management and feel that dairy should remain excluded from the negotiations.
“The federal government has given us no reason to believe that our industry is on the table. They continue to state the value of supply management for Canada, as noted in the speech from Global Affairs today,” says Tom Kootstra, chairman of the Alberta Milk board of directors and a dairy farmer in central Alberta. “We’re watching it closely, but we’re not worried.”
Canada is being seen as a potential dumping ground for the oversupply of milk caused by domestic policies south of the border which is causing reduced value, an unstable dairy market and hardships for many dairy farmers.
Supply management ensures that Canadian dairy farmers are satisfying the Canadian market with a high quality product and are supporting the Canadian economy. In 2015, the sector’s economic contributions amounted to $19.9 billion towards Canada’s GDP, and $3.8 billion in tax revenues and is consistently growing. In addition, the dairy sector sustains approximately 221,000 jobs in Canada with no government subsidies. Every single other country that does not have supply management is supported by their government in some way.
Canadians are rallying behind their country in times like these.
“We have seen great support from Canadians saying they want locally produced milk, they want to support our local farmers and they don’t want milk that has been travelling a truck for three days; quality is important,” Kootsta continues. For example, it’s illegal to use synthetic hormones in Canada, but is not for Americans dairy farmers.
“Dairy farmers support trade. Canada has undertaken over 40 other trade agreements with supply management intact and we don’t see why NAFTA is any different.”
About Alberta Milk
Alberta Milk is a non-profit organization that represents the province’s dairy farmers.
Karlee Conway, corporate communications coordinator