MPs approve bill aimed at taking supply management off the table in trade talks

The private member’s bill that that aims to prevent further market access concessions for supply managed commodities in Canada is headed to the Senate, as it received third and final approval in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Bill C-282, sponsored by Bloc MP Luc Thériault, would amend existing legislation to prevent Canada’s trade minister from increasing tariff rate quotas (TRQs) — and reducing over-quota tariffs — for dairy, poultry, or eggs through international trade agreements.

The bill passed with 262 votes in favour and 51 against, as the Conservative caucus was split on the vote.

The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) and its member organizations, including the Canadian Cattle Association, Canadian Canola Growers Association, and Pulse Canada, called on MPs to vote against the bill.

“By not doing so, MPs will be choosing to entrench protectionism as official Canadian trade policy,” said CAFTA president Dan Darling, in a statement prior to the vote. “The passage of this bill provides no tangible benefits to Canadians while risking our economic growth, international reputation, and key trading relationships – both current and future.”

For a trade-dependent nation like Canada, it is incomprehensible to allow narrow, short-sighted politics to reverse course on the public policy success we’ve accomplished through free and open trade, which today supports one in three Canadian jobs,” continued Darling. “If this bill becomes law, Canada’s credibility as a champion for rules-based, free and open trade will be lost.”

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture, whose membership includes a mix of supply managed and non-supply managed farmer stakeholders, asked MPs to support the bill when it was at second reading in February of this year.

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