Canadian dairy farmers are sounding the alarm over opening the doors to trade between countries that border the Pacific ocean. They worry opening Canada to dairy imports will affect milk quality in Canada and put their livelihood at risk. Newswatch’s Jonna Semple reports.
Dairy farmer Kevin Maclean addresses a crowd of his fellow producers from the Lennox and Addington area. All of these farmers worry that changes to allow the dairy trade between pacific Rim countries, through the trans-pacific partnership, will negatively affect how Canadian milk is distributed and sold.
“We making a quality product right here in our own country, why would we want to import it from another country when we can produce it right here and we’re the top quality, the best quality in the world.”
Along with quality, dairy producers are also worried about competition.
Farmers are also concerned that the playing field wouldn’t be level for Canadian dairy producers compared with some of the other Trans Pacific trade countries.
“We are held to quality standards in this country, lets make sure the products being brought into this country meet those standards, if we are being held to labour standards in this country, lets make sure lets make sure those standards are being met for those who want to import.” Conservative candidate for Prince Edward Hastings Daryl Kramp is hopeful trade talks will yield some benefit for area farmers.
“In this next round of negotiations that we’re able to access even more market for our producers so we can grow, obviously there’s always trade offs and my role is to minimize any potential impact that would happen in a negative fashion to our local producers.”
Mclean says he loves what he does and hopes his industry can continue to grow and thrive.
“I work hard, I work long hours and I want my livelihood protected, I’ve spent a lot of money to build Ripple Brook farm to where it is today and i want our livelihood to be protected and our income to be protected.”
At this point it’s not clear when the next round of Trans Pacific trade talks will resume, or if it will happen while the Canadian election campaign is underway.