Noted city slicker and Liberal leadership hopeful Martha Hall Findlay is the latest politician to take a run at the supply management system that guarantees prices for milk, eggs and poultry farmers.
Sheís the latest un-savvy politico to think a proposal that the system be abolished has a hope in hell of being approved by government or even endorsed by her own party.
Does she actually think being anti-supply management will earn her votes in a leadership race? Itís really an isolated issue with limited appeal or comprehension for most Canadians. That she would promote it helps clarify why she lost her seat as an MP in the last federal election.
The fact is that, overall, supply management works and governments know that. The system could certainly be aired out a little bit with more individual marketing exceptions granted as outlined in the editorial above.
In general, however, the system prevents farmers in three major sectors from having to fall back on governments when times are tough as their colleagues in beef, pork and grains must do.
Supply managed sectors are self-reliant, always depending on consumers of their products, not taxpayers, to foot the bill.
And the old bogeyman once again raised by Hall Findlay that supply management hinders Canada in world trade talks is another a non-starter. Thatís because that, while other countries make a big public spectacle of decrying Canadaís quota protectionism, behind closed doors they drop the sham because they all have their own protected hobby horses which simply donít get as much coverage.
Hall Findlay and her supporters are suggesting that nations entering negotiations for a new Trans-Pacific Partnership wonít tolerate Canada hanging on to supply management. However, Canada negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade deals with the system in place and its proponents donít see why the latest round should be any different.
Says Wally Smith, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada: "Supply management is a Canadian interest thatís always been defended. Other countries have sensitive areas they defend in negotiations and weíre quite comfortable to leave it in the governmentís hands."
Big city columnist Andrew Coyne has defined as "creepy" the way in which most politicians fall all over themselves to support supply management.
Why do you think that is, Andrew? Itís not just to cater to the miniscule dairy lobby. Itís because they understand that taxpayers have a good thing going.