NAFTA renegotiations: in the interests of all Canadians, the federal government must maintain its traditional position
Supply management is a question of identity, not a bargaining chip
Montréal, August 31, 2018 – In light of the apparent progress in negotiations to renew the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), La Coop fédérée today 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," said the president of La Coop fédérée.
About La Coop fédérée
Founded in 1922, La Coop fédérée is the largest agri-food enterprise in Québec, the only pan-Canadian agricultural cooperative and the 24th largest agri-food cooperative in the world. It represents more than 120,000 members, both agricultural producers and consumers, who are grouped together in nearly 70 cooperatives spread out across several Canadian provinces. It employs 13,000 people and has sales reaching $6.3 billion. Including its affiliated cooperatives, La Coop fédérée accounts for nearly 18,000 employees and combined sales of $9.2 billion. Its activities are divided into three divisions: Olymel S.E.C. (under the Olymel, Flamingo and Lafleur banners), the AgriBusiness Division (under La Coop and Elite, Agrocentre, Agrico, and Agromart banners), and Groupe BMR inc. (under the BMR, Unimat, Agrizone and Potvin & Bouchard banners).
To find out more, visit lacoop.coop website. Twitter: twitter.com/LaCoop_federee.
To read the open letter from the president of La Coop fédérée to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: http://web.lacoop.coop/en/lettre-president-lcf-to-PM-Canada
Ben Marc Diendéré
Senior Vice-president, Communications, Public Affaires and Brand Management
Senior Manager, Communications and Public Affaires