One of the main issues dividing the Conservative Party of Canada at the moment is the highly controversial, economically unsound and unjustifiable caucus ( including policy) support for Supply Management. Mainstream conservative laissez faire economic ‘hands off’ the economy principles clearly indicate that the Supply Management support is not only contrary to basic conservative values but it also provides no differentiation from federal Liberals – who have chosen to be the champions of quota driven Supply Management economics to the detriment of the consumer. Even worse for Conservatives, the support for this prejudicial economic protection of specific industries does not historically help Conservatives at the polls, since most beneficiaries of this system are going to be casting their votes in favour of the Liberal Party of Canada, in any event.
We are providing hereunder a number of links to current think tank studies, including a recent (2017) study from the University of Victoria that clearly and objectively outlines the detrimental overall economic effect of Supply Management and the high cost resultant to consumers.
It would make far more sense for the Conservative Party of Canada to provide support for universal economic models wherein the practice of market driven competitiveness and free market pricing (independent of government interference) would equally benefit all agricultural producers, similar to what should happen in other economic sectors, including energy, manufacturing and retailing. Government ‘bail outs’ and unjustifiable government contributions to specific companies including Bombardier and Toyota Canada are the antithesis of small ‘c’ conservatism and should be vigorously denounced by the Conservative Party of Canada, its leadership and its membership.
The undernoted letter from Ian Tribes underscores the problem for conservatives – and also identifies an easy and economically sound solution.
It is now and has for some time been obvious that Canada must end the current system of so-called Supply Management in dairy and poultry production. Not only is it a constant irritant to our international trading partners (which has a negative impact on Canadian exporters in virtually all industries), it has also turned milk and poultry production into “big-boy’s games”, where the traditional family farm literally cannot afford to compete — not at $ 25,000.00 — $ 42,500.00 PER COW in Quota fees. Absurd numbers, to be sure, and just as surely designed to squeeze the small players out. Worst of all, Supply Management has been a disaster for Canadian consumers, saddling them with prices for milk, cheese, chicken, etc. that are well in excess of those paid by people in other countries, where true market prices prevail. The difference can be as high as 300 % for some products. That this massive overcharging has hit lower-income people the hardest goes without saying.
In short, Supply Management benefits almost no one, at a great cost to almost everyone. This is, or should be considered as, the very definition of bad policy. So, what to do?
End it, that’s what. And immediately, too ; none of this nonsense about incremental changes, or “phasing out” over some arbitrarily-chosen number of years. Get rid of the whole thing at once, dissolve the Provincial marketing boards and the CDC ( dismissing their officers with thanks, but not much else. They’ve all done quite well out of it already ), and restore freedom to the production of milk, eggs, and poultry. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO GOOD REASON NOT TO DO THIS. The job of the various Legislatures of this country is to implement policy that has the greatest possible benefit for the greatest possible number of Canadian citizens and legal residents ; not to keep a small cabal rolling in other people’s money in perpetuity.
And what of the farmers ( NOTE: As hinted at above, most of the players in question are factory farms nowadays. But we’ll call them “farmers”, just for old time’s sake ) who have taken out large bank loans to buy these outrageously-expensive quotas? One is tempted to say that they have made their own beds and can now lie in them ; after all, businesses in other sectors often find their assets suddenly become worthless, and nobody tosses so much as a penny their way. However, in the spirit of charity, here is a simple proposal, one that will compensate the farmers for their quota “investments” without costing the taxpayer a dime : Simply create a tax credit for each farm, equivalent to the face value of their quotas ( ie. the nominal price as issued by the CDC/marketing boards ), which they can apply against their farm’s income tax until such time as they have recovered the money.
And please, let us not have any foolishness about how this tax credit would “cost” the Treasury in “lost” tax dollars. Such notions, common as they may be in some circles, are patently ridiculous. One cannot lose something that one never had in the first place.
The solution to the harmful mess that is Supply Management is, well, very simple. The question is, has anyone got the backbone to do it? And will anyone in the Canadian political scene do what is right, stand up for the average citizen of Canada, and bring this corrupt system to its well-deserved end?
Ian D. Tribes