An Act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act (supply management)


Luc Thériault  Bloc

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Second reading (Senate), as of Sept. 26, 2023

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This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act so that the Minister of Foreign Affairs cannot make certain commitments with respect to international trade regarding certain goods.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


June 21, 2023 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-282, An Act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act (supply management)
Feb. 8, 2023 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-282, An Act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act (supply management)

Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development ActPrivate Members' Business

June 21st, 2023 / 4:20 p.m.
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The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-282 under Private Members' Business.

The House resumed from June 19 consideration of the motion that Bill C-282, An Act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act (supply management), be read the third time and passed.

Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development ActPrivate Members' Business

June 19th, 2023 / 11:55 a.m.
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Luc Thériault Bloc Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to close the debate at third reading of the bill.

I have five short minutes to hopefully try to convince the very few who are still uncertain about this bill. Here we are at the last step of a parliamentary process to pass my bill, Bill C-282. Today, during these five short minutes, I would like to speak from the heart and set aside the technical aspects of my previous speeches. I believe that everything has been said, and I see that the technical elements have been understood by many parliamentarians.

I rise with my heart filled with pride because my colleagues and I took a collaborative approach. We met with producers, consumers and processors. We got everyone from the agricultural sector involved. We took a non-partisan approach in the House. We really hope that the results will be almost unanimous. We hope to achieve as good a result as last time. There were 293 members who voted for the bill and 23 who were not convinced of the merits of the bill.

First of all, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the dedication, determination and expertise of my colleagues, the member for Berthier—Maskinongé and the member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot. They made vital contributions. I really think so. Their contributions were essential in getting the bill to this final vote stage, which is scheduled for Wednesday. I would also like to recognize the support shown by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, who has spoken in favour of Bill C-282 from the beginning and at every stage of the legislative process. It is quite rare to see a minister so openly involved from the outset in favour of a bill that is not a government bill.

Today the message is clear and unequivocal. Producers under the supply management system who help feed us must never again be tormented from being left wondering how badly they will be sacrificed on the altar of a free trade agreement. They have given enough. No amount of compensation, no temporary one-off cheques, will make up for the permanent structural damage caused by the breaches contained in previous agreements. All countries exclude certain sectors of their production or products from all of their free trade agreements. When the Americans come to the negotiating table, there is no question of discussing sugar or cotton. The same goes for Japan and rice. Why, then, should we not do the same?

It is high time for us to not only protect the agricultural model, but to promote a balanced agricultural model that ensures the stability of our food autonomy and food security. That model must also guarantee product quality while reducing our ecological footprint. Supply management is logical. I would even go so far as to say it is “eco-logical”. The Bloc Québécois believes that there is room under the sun for everyone. We promote all agricultural models. They are not incompatible, they are complementary. All they need is effective marketing strategies.

It has been said before, but I will say it again: Supply management plays a crucial role in Quebec's regional economies and in the dynamic use of the land. In Montcalm, 87 farms are under supply management. When I travel around my constituency, I see well-structured rural communities practising farming on a human scale and anxious to keep it that way. Breathtaking landscapes emerge along the way.

I know that the die is cast. I urge the Senate to join all of us in the House who have come together on this bill and vote in favour of Bill C-282.

Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development ActPrivate Members' Business

June 19th, 2023 / 11:10 a.m.
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Richard Martel Conservative Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C‑282, which is fairly simple and fairly short. It provides an obligation to fully respect the supply management model. Every time that free trade agreements are negotiated, supply-managed producers lose market share and other sectors do not benefit.

I come from Saguenay—Lac‑Saint‑Jean, a region of Quebec that is a pillar of the agricultural industry because of its location and climate. The region combines all the factors suitable for supporting a substantial agricultural industry. Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean features a wide range of agri-food products, ranging from blueberries to dairy. I will focus on the dairy industry.

Milk production is a vital economic driver for the region. The region currently has 244 farms and 2,151 jobs, making our dairy farmers proud. It is actually on their behalf that I am speaking today, as well as on behalf of the entire dairy industry, which has urged me to support Bill C‑282 because it affects them directly.

Only the markets for dairy, table eggs, hatching eggs, and poultry fall under supply management. This system is based on three main pillars.

The first pillar is supply management through quotas. That word comes up a lot when we talk about supply management. The Canadian Dairy Commission distributes quotas to every province in Canada, which ensures price stability. I do not see a problem with that type of practice because it prevents waste and huge price differences.

The second pillar is price controls. A floor price and a ceiling price are set to ensure that consumers can buy local without paying astronomical amounts. In the worst case scenario, a consumer will have to spend a few cents more for a local product made here under conditions we are familiar with. Since the standards vary widely from country to country, we are making sure that consumers can buy ethically and contribute to the regional economy without having to spend a lot.

Third, there is border control. This part makes it possible for the supply management model to prevent the local market from being overrun. This model allows producers to be competitive by supplying real milk. Take for example local milk that is full of vitamins and protein. Another milk might be diluted with water, which would mean that the same volume of milk would fill more cartons. That milk would be less expensive than the 100% milk that is sold here at home. A person on a tight budget, especially in an inflationary environment like the one we are in right now, would probably choose the second option; however, that milk would not come from Quebec, would not be local and would not contain all the proteins that it should.

Supply management helps to keep the three previously mentioned pillars in balance. It controls production, price and the border.

This model has been used in Quebec since it was first created in 1972. Every country in the world protects their products. That is not new. In Quebec, our supply-managed producers are the ones who need to be protected. The producers are unanimous on this and are calling for this bill to be passed.

This is a Bloc Québécois bill, which I recognize, but it is also the bill of milk, egg and poultry producers across Canada.

As I mentioned earlier, there are many family dairy farms in my riding. I am thinking in particular of Laiterie de La Baie, which was established in 1919 and since then has been handed down from one generation to the next. The values of support, solidarity and quality are part of the company's identity. Animal welfare is a consideration. The cows graze on grass in the summer and eat real hay during the winter. That is the type of farm that we want to encourage. I buy their milk all the time because it is the best and also because, as consumers, we must encourage our local producers.

Supply-managed agricultural sectors are key to the economic and social development of the regions. Let us not forget that. Supply management protects our workers' livelihoods. It ensures that our dairy, egg and poultry farms are not left to fend for themselves. Above all, it protects the integrity of the system. It is natural to have concerns about future agreements. Some even speak about having their hands tied or use the expression “showing their cards ahead of time”. However, some experts reassured the committee that it would not hobble the government, rather, it would strengthen it.

I am a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade, which studied Bill C-282. The committee even asked for additional meetings so that experts, as well as farmers from all walks of life, could share their concerns. The upshot is that farmers in Quebec are urging us to pass this bill. They need it. My job as a parliamentarian is to listen to what my constituents and what the entrepreneurs in my riding are telling me on the ground. The latest free trade agreements signed between Canada and other countries have made supply management a focal point.

The compensation offered by the government following agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP, is never paid out fast enough. Investment programs take too long, and farmers end up getting their cheques too late. Farmers and processors no longer want compensation. They want things to be done more efficiently to begin with.

We know that nothing happens fast enough under these Liberals. Timelines are extremely long. The Conservatives are supporting farmers and producers so that families can eat high-quality local products. This bill is necessary because governments have chipped away at the system over the years. The compensation provided by the government is no longer enough. Supply management must be protected, which is exactly what Bill C-282 does. The vitality of our rural regions depends on supply management. As the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, I wholeheartedly support Bill C-282.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-282, An Act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act (supply management), be read the third time and passed.

Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development ActPrivate Members' Business

June 19th, 2023 / 11 a.m.
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Michael Kram Conservative Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to Bill C-282.

Seven years ago, U.S. President Barack Obama visited Ottawa and addressed parliamentarians in the House of Commons. There was one line from his speech that received a standing ovation and was in all the news stories that night. He said, “the world needs more Canada.”

The reason President Obama words received a standing ovation was because he was right; the world does need more Canada. The world needs more softwood lumber from B.C., more cod from Newfoundland and Labrador and more of everything from everywhere in between.

Unfortunately, Bill C-282 marks a significant departure from President Obama's positive outlook for Canada and instead represents a much more inward-looking and isolationist future.

Canada has always been a trading nation. Over the past 40 years, Canadian governments had negotiated 15 free trade agreements with 51 different countries. It is important to note that these free trade negotiations were signed, ratified and implemented under both Liberal and Conservative governments. This team Canada approach has served Canadians well by giving our free trade negotiators the flexibility they need to negotiate a deal that is in the best interest of Canada.

Unfortunately, Bill C-282 proposes to take supply management off the table in future free trade negotiations. It will handcuff our free trade negotiators and limit their ability to negotiate a deal that is in the best interest of all Canadians.

This is exactly the warning that was made to parliamentarians at the international trade committee when its members heard from our lead trade negotiators, both when the bill was being studied at committee as well as an identical bill in the previous Parliament.

Doug Forsyth, director general at Global Affairs Canada in charge of market access and trade development, said the following:

If we were to start from the position that we would not be dealing with 100% of the items that we would negotiate on, it does risk having an agreement that's not necessarily completely beneficial to Canadian exporters and producers and it does risk being an agreement that does not necessarily provide the full economic benefits to Canada that one might have expected.

Mr. Forsyth's concerns were echoed by his colleague, Mr. Aaron Fowler, the chief agriculture negotiator. Mr. Fowler actually went a step further and added, “In some cases, the country may determine that they do not want to go forward with an FTA with Canada in the absence of Canada's being able to make commitments in this sector.”

Given that these warnings are coming from Canada's actual free trade negotiators, it is incumbent upon parliamentarians to take them seriously and to not go down the path of handcuffing our negotiators in future negotiations.

Take, for example, the government's lndo-Pacific strategy, which it announced last fall. In this document, the government outlines its plans to negotiate free trade agreements with both India and the ASEAN nations of South-East Asia. India has a population of 1.4 billion people, and the ASEAN nations have a combined population of over 600 million people. That represents a combined total of over two billion potential customers for Canadian exporters. That sounds like a great opportunity for Canada. However, I cannot help but wonder if Canada's negotiators have to take supply management off the table, then what sectors will India and the ASEAN countries take off the table as well? What opportunities in these markets of two billion people will be lost to Canadian exporters?

One also has to consider our trade relationship with our two closest neighbours in North America, the United States and Mexico. One may be tempted to say that because Bill C-282 would apply to new free trade agreements only, and since Canada already has a free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico, then there is nothing to worry about. However, it is important to remember that the current NAFTA agreement has a sunset clause, which any of the three countries could invoke if they were unhappy with the current deal and would like to renegotiate it from scratch. If this sunset clause were invoked, Canada could be left without a free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico as early the year 2036.

Again, that raises the question. If we sit down with the Americans and the Mexicans 13 years from now to renegotiate NAFTA, and if Canada’s supply managed sectors are off the table from the outset, then what sectors will the U.S. and Mexico take off the table as well? Which Canadians will no longer be able to export to the United States and Mexico because of Bill C-282? Will it be New Brunswick lobster fishermen? Will it be assembly line workers in Ontario’s electric car factories? Who?

I know that I would not want to go home to Saskatchewan and tell farmers and ranchers, potash and uranium miners that their jobs no longer exist because they can no longer export to the United States. I am sure there is not a single parliamentarian in this chamber who would like to have that sort of conversation with exporters in their ridings either.

Therefore, what do we do about supply management when it comes to future free trade negotiations? If a farmer works in one of the supply-managed sectors, and owns quota, and has played by the rules, and if a future free trade agreement reduces the value of that asset, then that farmer should be compensated for his or her loss. That compensation should be clear, complete, spelled out in black and white, and it should be paid out in a timely manner.

While every country has sectors that it seeks to protect in free trade negotiations, no country has enshrined into law what its negotiators can and cannot talk about with other countries. With an open economy that is largely based on exports, we should not be making Canada an outlier on the world stage.

Just about all of the speakers to the bill have extolled the virtues of supply management and the people who work in those sectors. I have no doubt that workers in these sectors are good people who deserve a fair shake in free trade agreements. However, sooner or later someone has to ask about the 99% of Canadians who do not work in a supply-managed sector.

What about other farmers and ranchers whose livelihoods depend on exports? What about Canadian workers who work in export-based industries other than agriculture? What about all the Canadian consumers who drive a car that was built in Germany, or use a smart phone that was built in South Korea or who just enjoy a bottle of French wine with their dinner? All of these Canadians benefit from free trade agreements that are the result of countless hours of work by our free trade negotiators, without having their efforts hindered by Bill C-282.

I would like to conclude with another quote from President Obama’s 2016 address to Parliament. He said, “the benefits of trade and economic integration are sometimes hard to see or easy to take for granted, and the very specific dislocations are obvious and real. There’s just one problem: Restricting trade or giving in to protectionism in this 21st century economy will not work.” That statement also received a standing ovation.

The world does need more Canada, not less. Bill C-282 is a step in the wrong direction and I encourage all parliamentarians to vote against it.

The House resumed from May 15 consideration of the motion that Bill C-282, An Act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act (supply management), be read the third time and passed.

World Milk DayStatements by Members

June 1st, 2023 / 2:15 p.m.
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Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is World Milk Day, but I drink my milk every day just as I like it, because, frankly, milk is better under any circumstances.

Milk is a rich and tasty source of nourishment, proudly produced by people who continue to innovate, to produce more and better using less, people who are protecting our planet and our future. Milk is liquid gold.

I therefore invite all members of the House to enjoy this fantastic product. Let us do right by our farmers by passing Bill C‑282 quickly and protecting their wonderful model, so that we can always say “Never without my milk”. There is no need for moderation, because when it comes to milk, one glass is good but two is better.

To anyone with doubts, remember that it is worth crying over. I cannot imagine a better natural source of comfort.

In conclusion, milk is, and always will be, the best thing ever.

May 17th, 2023 / 5 p.m.
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Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Welcome back, Minister. To you and to all your officials, thank you for joining us today.

I also want to stay on the subject of supply management. My colleague Monsieur Perron asked about Ukraine. I want to ask about future trade deals. India, of course, looms large right now. India has indicated very publicly through its high commissioner to Canada that agriculture is going to be a big thing.

Now, at the same time, Parliament is in the middle of debating a private member's bill, Bill C-282, which is going to put in force and effect a legislative firewall on the ability of the Department of Foreign Affairs to negotiate on tariff rate quotas. I think that's there because Parliament's trust, at least on the opposition side, was broken three times by your government, if I'm speaking frankly, through three successive trade deals. Yes, you can talk about the compensation, but on that third pillar of supply management—import controls—some things were given away there.

Minister, Bill C-282 still has a little bit of a journey ahead of it. It does need to go through the Senate before it receives royal assent, and you have that legislative constraint in place. In the meantime, if the trade deal with the Indo-Pacific region, with India specifically, marches ahead at a pretty rapid pace, can we have your assurance that supply management is not going to be on the table and that you're not going to take advantage of the time between now and when Bill C-282 comes into force and effect?

May 15th, 2023 / 12:25 p.m.
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Kyle Seeback Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Quickly, I wanted to speak to the Canadian American Business Council.

Bill C-282 is a supply management bill that is excluding supply management from trade agreements. Do you think that would make it easier or more difficult to resolve trade irritants with the United States, such as softwood lumber and potential COOL, country of origin labelling, on beef?

May 15th, 2023 / 12:20 p.m.
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Kyle Seeback Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

I missed your introductory statements. I was speaking to a bill, Bill C-282, on supply management, but I want to talk to the Canadian Pork Council about the non-tariff barriers that are going on within CETA.

We talk about robust dispute resolution mechanisms, but it seems to me that something's wrong. Either the dispute resolution mechanisms within CETA are not robust enough or the government has been too slow in getting those dispute resolution mechanisms up and running.

My understanding is that this has been going on for—I don't know—six years with respect to the phytosanitary issues with beef and pork. I'm wondering if you can let us know where you think the problem is.

May 15th, 2023 / noon
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Chandra Arya Liberal Nepean, ON

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Madam Chair, I would like to place on the record my appreciation for the Canadian agricultural industry, which is so well represented here. We are well placed in the world. Canada is the fifth-largest exporter of total agricultural produce and agri-food products.

Mr. Roy, I understand the frustration of the pork exporters to the U.K. and Europe. While I want that to be resolved, I personally am not in favour of your suggestion that we try retaliatory tariffs. Though it has worked, in my view it more often than not doesn't bring you to an easy solution.

Mr. Greenwood, I'll come back to you later, if I have time, on your opinion about Bill C-282. In my opinion, it's bad legislation for Canada as a country that promotes free trade. I would like your opinion later on whether it affects Canada-U.S. trade relations, especially in the dispute resolution mechanisms before CUSMA is up for renegotiation.

First, though, I would like to go to you, Mr. Walker and Mr. Davison. I understand the problems. You've explained them. I want to know if there are any shortcomings in the dispute resolution mechanisms that we have today. Is there anything we can modify or tweak in the approach that the industry bodies and the government take to adjust the non-tariff barriers that we have seen in different parts of the world?

Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development ActPrivate Members' Business

May 15th, 2023 / 11:35 a.m.
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Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise, not only as the NDP's agriculture critic but also as the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford and for all of the supply-managed farms in my beautiful riding to offer my full-throated support of Bill C-282. Just as a quick review for people to catch up, this bill is seeking to amend the existing statute, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act.

A quick reminder is that the act, in one of its important sections, spells out the powers, duties and functions of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. For example, the act specifies that the minister conduct all diplomatic and consular relations on behalf of Canada and foster the expansion of Canada's international trade and commerce, etc. Bill C-282 would add a new clause into that act to specify that the minister must not make any commitment on behalf of the Government of Canada that would have the effect of increasing the tariff rate quota or reducing the tariff that is applicable to goods in that category, which are two very important aspects. I will lay out reasons why.

First of all, I want to say that I am proud to be a member of a party that has long stood by our supply-managed farmers and continues to do so up to this day. We absolutely recognize that supply management as a system protects our family farms and our rural communities and protects and promotes hundreds of thousands of jobs. Its economic impact in communities like mine is huge. It rests on three pillars; I have heard the expression “the three-legged stool”. Of course, we know that with a three-legged stool, if one is to affect any one of the legs the whole system collapses and they are all necessary to stand up and maintain the system.

Those three pillars are production control, pricing mechanisms and import control. Under supply management, we have a national marketing agency that determines the production amounts for each commodity and sets production quotas for each of our provinces. We also know that our supply-managed producers are guaranteed a minimum price for their products. Those provincial marketing boards allow them to negotiate the minimum farm gate prices with the processors of their products.

The third pillar, which is the key theme of today's discussion, is import control. The way we regulate import control is through tariffs on foreign imports. Tariffs are applied whenever foreign imports in a supply-managed sector exceed the allowable quantity and then they are subject to a massive tariff that essentially makes them uncompetitive. For each of our main products, whether in dairy, eggs, poultry or turkey, successive trade deals have whittled away at that important pillar and now we do allow import of some foreign products in each of those categories up to a certain amount, after which they are subjected to a high tariff.

The system has proven itself time and time again over decades of use. It offers important stability for producers, processors, service providers and retailers. It allows our federal and provincial governments to avoid subsidizing those sectors directly. That is in strict contrast to our competitors both in the United States and in the European Union.

I need to underline this point: Supply management protects the taxpayer because we avoid subsidizing the industry. It allows farmers in those sectors to actually make a good income and to innovate and invest in their respective farms. That is in stark contrast to the wild price fluctuations we have seen south of the border in the United States, in particular, where overproduction has led to dire economic circumstances for many of the farms, particularly in the dairy sector. The same goes for the European Union. That is where taxpayer funds are used to directly subsidize those industries. That is in stark contrast to the system that we have here in Canada whereby supply management allows the system to survive without that direct intervention.

I know some of the criticisms out there. We have heard it time and time again, particularly from the OECD, which has said that supply management stifles innovation. However, we know that is not true.

In many of the farms I have visited in my own riding, particularly the dairy operations, the technology in use in those operations is state of the art. It is that way because the farmers who operate those systems have had the guaranteed income and they know they can make the investment by betting against future incomes. They have been able to innovate, they have been able to invest; they have been able to make their operations world class and the envy of many nations around the world.

I talked about the economic impacts. I referenced the economic impacts in my own riding. If we look country-wide, for example, in 2021, Canada had 9,403 dairy farms. Production and processing of dairy products contributes to 221,000 jobs and nearly $20 billion to Canada's GDP every single year. The same year for poultry and egg farms, we had 5,296 farms. Production and processing of poultry and eggs contributes more than 100,000 jobs and over $8.5 billion to Canada's GDP. Therefore, the economic impact of this sector is significant and it matters to many communities.

Now, let us look at how Bill C-282 fared at the international trade committee. I do want to take time to recognize my fellow NDP colleague, the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay, who helped shepherd that bill through committee on my behalf. That was some great work on his part to get the bill to this stage. That committee had six meetings. About 45 witnesses came forward and testified. As a result of that testimony there were a number of amendments proposed to the bill. None were successful, so ultimately the version of the bill that we see before us today is the same that the House gave voice to at second reading.

I want to outline some of the testimony that we heard at committee because I have heard other members reference this.

One of the important testimonies that we heard was from Mr. Tom Rosser, who is the assistant deputy minister of the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food. He said:

The Government of Canada is working hard to ensure that the supply management system remains strong and that producers and processors operating in the system remain productive and sustainable.

Bill C-282 would protect these sectors from additional market access concessions in the context of future trade negotiations, and as such is fully consistent with existing policy.

We had Mr. Keith Currie, someone I have become very familiar with and worked with over the years. He is now, of course, the president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. He said:

Canada's three most recent trade agreements have had a considerable impact on supply-managed farm families and the system that supports them. It's our hope this new legislation will encourage Canada's negotiators to look to other negotiating strategies that do not place one agriculture sector against another, and instead focus our energy on issues that unite us, such as reducing non-tariff trade barriers.

The interesting thing about this bill as I wrap up here, is that the vote on sending the bill back to the House was an interesting one because both the Liberal and Conservative caucuses were split. We had the Liberal member for Nepean vote against sending this bill back to the House and we had a Conservative member from Oshawa and a Conservative member from Dufferin—Caledon also vote against sending this bill back to the House. It is interesting to see the splits that exist in both the Liberal and Conservative caucuses. I am very curious to see the final vote on this bill when we come to third reading.

I understand, of course, that there were a number of objections raised to the bill about this being a non-tariff trade barrier, that it constrains Canada's ability to negotiate the best possible deal, but I will again say this. We have been let down successively three times back in the 42nd Parliament. I was there. Despite the government's promises that it was fully in support of supply management, threes successive trade deals undermined that important pillar of import control. I see this bill as just pretty much a legislative guarantee that, despite a government's best intentions and words, this bill is going to insert a legislative guarantee in an important act to ensure that our supply management sectors enjoy that solid protection.

With that I will conclude and again reiterate that New Democrats will support this bill. I would like to thank the member for Montcalm for bringing it forward. I look forward to seeing its successful passage to the other place.

Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development ActPrivate Members' Business

May 15th, 2023 / 11:25 a.m.
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Kyle Seeback Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Madam Speaker, I am happy to speak to Bill C-282. On the Conservative side, we absolutely support supply management. We always have been.

In my riding of Dufferin—Caledon, there are many supply-managed farms, both in dairy and, of course, in eggs and poultry. I take the opportunity to visit those farms on a regular basis. The last break week, I visited dairy farms in my riding and I talked about the bill and the incredible contributions that they made not just to my riding of Dufferin—Caledon but all across Canada.

That being said, I really do have concerns with respect to the bill and a big part of it is that the bill has turned into a gigantic wedge issue with all the rest of the folks in the agriculture sector. Every agricultural sector outside of supply management has said it does not support the bill. These people are concerned about what the repercussions will be to their sector in any future trade agreement.

Why are they thinking that? When we take something off the table in a negotiation, then our negotiating partner will automatically take something off the table as well. If we are taking supply management off, and that is something our negotiating partner is interested in, it will take something off the table that Canada is interested in, and we end up with trade agreements that are less ambitious, less broad in scope and therefore have less economic prosperity for Canadians.

This is an example of who came to the committee to say they supported supply management. There are agricultural colleagues, our friends and neighbours, who are against this bill, such as the Canola Council of Canada; the Canadian Canola Growers Association; the International Cheese Council of Canada; the National Cattle Feeders' Association; the Canadian Cattle Association; CAFTA, which is the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance; Cereals Canada; just to name a few. They have all said that they think this bill will damage their opportunities to export their products around the world. They spoke very forcefully against the bill at committee.

What the bill has accomplished, to a large extent, is to pit one farmer against another, and that is truly unfortunate.

Government officials have also spoken against the legislation. When the bill was before the previous parliament it was Bill C-216, and there were several questions that were asked with respect to it. I will quote one section.

Mr. Doug Forsyth said:

If we were to end up with this bill as it is written, I think very much that we would start with a much smaller scope of negotiations with various partners. It wouldn't be unusual for them to say “That's fine. Canada has taken these issues right out of play. We will take issues that are of interest to Canada right out of play.” Then you're talking about negotiating from a smaller pie...

That is exactly the concern I have raised. Canada is a free-trading nation. We rely on free trade, as 60% to 70% of our GDP comes from trade. We are a trading and exporting nation, and agricultural products are a huge bedrock of our exports. When every other agricultural sector is saying that it is concerned about what this is going to do with respect to its ability to export its products around the world and in negotiations for other free trade agreements, we should listen.

One of the things I tried to accomplish at committee was to have extra meetings to have trade experts come to say what they thought the impact of the bill would be with respect to negotiating future trade agreements, and the committee received letters from trade experts.

This is a snippet from a letter from Robert de Valk, who said:

Remember what Canada had to pay in 1989 to keep supply management off the table when the Canada-US Trade Agreement (CUSTA) was completed – increased access. Now all our trading partners can rightfully ask for compensation. The bill, unfortunately, may have the unintended consequence of putting the supply management sector in focus early in any future negotiations.

When we talk about future negotiations, our free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico, CUSMA, is under review at six years. We are three years away from that. With this bill passing, what happens if the United States says that it wants some additional access in supply managed industries? Under this bill it would be absolutely impossible. Then what happens? Are we going to blow up our entire free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico because of this legislation? These are the unintended potential consequences of the legislation.

At committee, I also asked government officials if we would have been able to successfully renegotiate NAFTA, which became CUSMA, if supply management was off the table? This was the answer, “Madam Chair, I was not a part of the negotiating teams for either of those negotiations. However, the stated policy of the Canadian government during both of those negotiations was that“ supply management was off the table and that they would “make no concessions. Therefore, having ultimately determined that such concessions were necessary, I can only conclude that failing to do so would have put the deal at jeopardy.”

This is what we would be looking at if we pass legislation like this. We are potentially putting other trade deals at jeopardy with respect to one sector of the Canadian economy. I find this absolutely troubling.

However, if we take away the challenges with future deals and if we take away the challenges with the review of CUSMA, or USMCA, whatever we want to call it, those are big, extraordinary challenges as a result of this.

Let us look at it in a broader context. Our largest trading partner is the United States, with 70% of our trade going to the United States. We have two major trade irritants with the United States right now.

First, on softwood lumber, $8 billion worth of duties have been collected as a result of the softwood lumber dispute. This has been going on for eight years, with no progress at all on resolving it.

Second, country of origin labelling for beef is percolating in the United States again. It would have devastating impacts for Canadian cattle.

If we go to the United States and say that we want to try to resolve these things, I think it will say, especially with beef, that we have just protected an entire swath of our agricultural sector and it will want to know why the United States can not go forward with its country of origin labelling.

The bill would give the United States a hammer to hit us with in negotiations, to try to resolve the trade irritants that we have now. These are the unintended consequences of passing this legislation.

We can support supply management without the legislation. Our country has done it. In all the free trade agreements we have around the world, there is only a couple where access has been granted on supply management. When that access was granted, Canadian producers were compensated financially.

When we look at the statistics on farm gate proceeds, for example, with respect to dairy, actual production of milk has gone up despite access that has been granted. Therefore, farm gate receipts have gone up despite access being granted.

If access is granted, we could compensate those who are affected. Also, because the Canadian population is growing, the Canadian economy is growing, so they still produce more, sell more and make more money. The system as it is exists very well. It is not, as we keep hearing, the first thing on the negotiating table in a free trade agreement. It is the absolute last thing. It is the only thing that would get done, because if we did not, we could not get a deal.

Imagine, if this bill was in place when we were trying to renegotiate NAFTA with the United States and the United States demanded more access in supply management. It is very interested in it, because we have disputes under USMCA with respect to how it applies tariff-reduced quota in the dairy sector. We know it is important to the United States. We would not have a deal, and government officials very clearly said that.

The intention of the bill is good. We should protect supply management. I understand why farmers are nervous and frustrated, because the government has not negotiated good deals, like CPTPP. The original TPP granted less access in supply management. The Liberal government came along and gave up so much more in CPTPP. However, the bill would have unintended consequences that would not be good for Canada and the Canadian economy.

Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development ActPrivate Members' Business

May 15th, 2023 / 11:20 a.m.
See context

Windsor—Tecumseh Ontario


Irek Kusmierczyk LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity that the member for Montcalm has provided me to once again reaffirm the government's support for Canada's supply management system and for this important bill. I want to start by thanking the member for Humber River—Black Creek for reporting the bill back to the House following its review at the Standing Committee on International Trade.

In conducting its review of the bill, the committee heard from over 40 witnesses and received 15 written briefs. The committee heard substantial evidence that Canada's supply management system is a model of stability. It provides a fair price for farmers, stability for processors and high-quality products for consumers, Canadians, and has done so for over 50 years. Numerous witnesses expressed how supply management is a pillar of rural prosperity. It sustains farming families and rural communities.

The great contribution of supply-managed sectors to our economy is undeniable. In 2021, the dairy, poultry and egg sectors generated almost $13 billion in farm-gate sales and accounted for over 100,000 direct jobs in production and processing activities.

This government has consistently reaffirmed our unwavering support for Canada's supply management system, including in the context of international trade agreements. This support was clearly demonstrated during the negotiation of the new NAFTA, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, or CUSMA. Canada faced significant pressure to dismantle the supply management system, and I cannot stress enough how hard we had to resist and defend it, and defend it we did. Despite this intense pressure, we succeeded in ensuring that all three pillars of the supply management system remain firmly in place: production controls, pricing mechanisms and import controls.

More recently, we demonstrated our support for Canada's supply management system during the negotiation of the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement, which did not include any new access for cheese or other supply-managed products, despite significant pressure from the United Kingdom.

Moreover, the government has publicly committed, and I stress this, to not provide any new market access for supply-managed products in future trade agreements. This policy has been clearly and publicly stated by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Looking into the future, Bill C-282 makes our commitment to continue to preserve, protect and defend all three pillars of Canada's supply management system even stronger.

Furthermore, the government believes that ensuring greater involvement of the public, stakeholders and parliamentarians in Canada's trade agenda strengthens the defence and promotion of our broader economic interests, including supply-managed sectors. As such, we have increased transparency in the conduct of trade negotiations and we have enhanced reporting obligations to Parliament for all new trade agreements. In November 2020, we updated the policy on the tabling of treaties in Parliament to provide additional opportunities for members of Parliament to review the objectives and economic merits of new trade agreements.

Furthermore, our government will continue to preserve, protect and defend our supply management system in the context of any challenge by our trading partners. We are confident that we, Canada, are fully compliant in the implementation of our trade obligations, and we will vigorously defend our interests.

Let me reiterate the government's unequivocal commitment to maintain supply management as a pillar of strong and sustainable rural prosperity into the future. This matters. It matters to Canadian farmers. It matters to Canadian farmers in my region of Windsor—Essex.

We have tens of thousands of workers who work to drive our agricultural sector. Whether it is greenhouses or on the farms, this is absolutely critical to my region and also to Canadian farmers from coast to coast to coast. It is also important to Canadians. This is the foundation, as we heard today, of Canada's food security.

Bill C-282 is aligned with our commitment. For this reason, we support it. The government is fully committed to defending the integrity of supply management, while also continuing to pursue an ambitious trade agenda.