In light of the apparent progress in negotiations to renew the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), La Coop fédérée recently reiterated that the Canadian supply management system should not be used as a bargaining chip in these negotiations.
Agriculture is, in the same way as culture, an exception that contributes to the definition of Quebec and Canadian society. For La Coop fédérée, it is a question of identity, a choice to be made by society, as well as one of innovation.
"In the name of what should we accept the imposition of an American style of agriculture? We must preserve our agriculture, that is on a human scale, sustainable, and the fruit of the labour of families in Quebec and Canada over several generations," concluded Ghislain Gervais, president of La Coop fédérée.
"As I have already mentioned, in an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, it is also a question of respecting the values of Quebec and Canadian consumers who are asking for local products," said Ghislain Gervais, during a press conference. "We are concerned about the eventual impact of the abolition of the system we have chosen to ensure the survival of our regions, our family farms, the vitality of our rural life and our farming families who are living on the land."
There is no question of creating a new breach in the supply management system
Emphasizing that it is perfectly legitimate to protect the heritage, agricultural know-how and food security of the country's citizens, Ghislain Gervais indicated that the creation of a new breach in the supply management system would be extremely unfortunate.
The Transpacific Partnership, concluded in 2015, and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union, have already created gaps in the supply-managed sectors.
"We cannot envision that the Canadian government will accept to make further concessions under NAFTA. Such concessions would likely have a significant financial impact on dairy and poultry producers and contribute to the devitalization of our regions."
In the interests of all Canadians, the federal government must maintain its traditional position and protect the supply management system for the poultry and dairy sectors.
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