Business & Policy
Nadeau Will Continue to Find “Solution” to N.B. Chicken Regulation
January 3, 2012 – Despite the Supreme Court of Canada's dismissal of Nadeau Poultry's application to hear its case, Nadeau Poultry's General Manager, Yves Landry, has announced that the decision will not deter the company from continuing their efforts to compel the New Brunswick government to bring about a fair solution to the instability that exists in the New Brunswick chicken industry.
January 3, 2012 – Despite the
Supreme Court of Canada's dismissal of Nadeau Poultry's application to
hear its case, Nadeau Poultry's General Manager, Yves Landry, has
announced that the decision will not deter the company from continuing
their efforts to compel the New Brunswick government to bring about a
fair solution to the instability that exists in the New Brunswick
"The two issues are entirely separate issues," said Landry in a press release. "If the New Brunswick government had not failed to properly regulate the chicken industry as required by law, then we would never have had to resort to going to the courts."
Landry says that the conclusion that has been drawn and promoted by Groupe Westco that the court decisions allow them to sell their chickens wherever they want, and that the courts support Westco, is grossly exaggerated and a very liberal interpretation of the rulings.
"All the court proceedings looked at was a very narrow section of the Competition Act, namely a section called 'refusal to deal'. Nothing more was dealt with. For example, none of the court proceedings ever dealt with the issue
of whether or not the New Brunswick government was compliant with the
legislation that it is signatory to. We know it is not, so these decisions in no
way abdicate the New Brunswick government of their legislated obligation to
provide orderly marketing of chicken in the province given that it is a
regulated commodity in Canada," said Landry.
Court action was Nadeau's only recourse, given the New Brunswick government's
refusal to appropriately regulate the industry, when Groupe Westco diverted
almost 80 per cent of the provincial supply of chickens from Nadeau Poultry, New
Brunswick's only chicken processor, to Quebec in 2008. The Competition Tribunal
was Nadeau Poultry's only practical avenue of relief when a quick solution was
needed in order to save the 365 jobs at the plant. Nadeau Poultry went forward
with their complaint to the Competition Tribunal under section 75 of the
Competition Act, Refusal to Deal.
The decision of the Competition Tribunal, dealing exclusively with a very
specific area of the Competition Act, simply stated that Nadeau Poultry failed
to establish certain technical elements that were required to constitute a
'refusal to deal'. The inability to fulfill those technicalities was directly
related to the fact that the chicken industry operates under a supply management system which prevented Nadeau from being able to meet all requirements.
The Tribunal's decision was upheld by the New Brunswick Court of Appeal. Nadeau says it hoped that the Supreme Court would hear the case to resolve the clashes between these two national legislative schemes, namely, the supply management system and the Competition Act. Groupe Westco's conclusion that the court decision affirms the legality of its intent to build a vertically integrated monopoly in the chicken industry in New Brunswick is without basis. Nadeau claims that in fact, the New Brunswick government has remained steadfast in its refusal to comply with the requirements of the 2001 Federal-Provincial Agreement for Chicken, the piece of legislation that governs the National chicken supply management system. By Federal-Provincial legislation, the government is required to provide an orderly marketing system for chicken – a controlled product in Canada – that works in the balanced interests of producers, industry processors and consumers. That is not happening in the province's chicken industry, according to Nadeau.
"Clearly the government's current stance on this matter is biased towards the
interests of a corporate producer (Groupe Westco) at the expense of the province's processing industry and New Brunswick consumers. The government must implement a solution that fairly allocates New Brunswick grown chicken to any and all processors in the province. This will promote competition in the industry and ensure that New Brunswick grown chickens are made available to New Brunswick consumers as was intended by the supply management system," said Landry.