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Conservative leadership candidates spar anew over supply management


Published on April 19, 2017

OTTAWA — Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier has welcomed U.S. Donald Trump's swipe at the Canadian dairy industry, saying that it's not just American farmers who are losing out.

Bernier says Canadians suffer more under supply management than Americans and if elected leader he promises to abolish the system.

On Tuesday, Trump targeted Canada explicitly in taking the next steps in his "Buy American, Hire American" policy, suggesting Wisconsin farmers are suffering because of the Canadian system.

Supply management has long vexed conservatives because it stands in sharp contrast to their belief in free markets, but most refuse to suggest dismantling the system as there is support for it in key constituencies.

Among them is Quebec, but that's not stopped Bernier from lashing out against the farms in his home province who are part of the system, making him the lone leadership contender to do so.

Bernier calls supply management a cartel, a phrase his competitor Erin O'Toole says turns farming families into nothing more than political props.

O'Toole says Bernier's policy demonstrates a lack of understand of agriculture and that the current system has nothing to do with any market specific issues in the United States.

 

The Canadian Press