Federal agriculture minister doesn’t close door on tweaking supply management

U.S. has made it clear it wants Canada’s control over price, supplies of dairy, eggs, chicken gone

When it comes to defending Canada’s supply management system from the trade demands of the Trump White House, Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay is leaving the barn door open a crack.

The U.S. administration has made it clear it wants Canada’s system for controlling the price and supplies of dairy, eggs and chicken abolished — something MacAulay insists will not happen.

But when asked today whether there’s any room to negotiate on supply management, MacAulay was less unequivocal.

“Well of course what needs to happen is with any trade deal you have to find out exactly what is on the table, what the approach is,” said MacAulay.

“I’m not going to start negotiating NAFTA here in the public with the press, that would not be my role,” he said.

After the press conference, MacAulay’s office issued a statement clarifying his position.

“Our government strongly supports and is committed to maintaining Canada’s supply management system. It was a Liberal government that created supply management and we be tireless in defending it and standing up for the interests of Canadian farming families,” the statement reads.

“Canada’s trade negotiators as well as the prime minister, ministers and Liberal members of Parliament, have been clear about this since the current NAFTA talks began,” the statement continues.

At the press conference when pressed about what realistic changes Canada would consider, MacAulay would only repeat his insistence that the government would defend supply management.

“We are the government that will defend supply management. We have indicated that quite clearly. We’re fully united,” he said.

MacAulay also skirted around comments Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made in a U.S. television interview that Canada has “flexibility” on dairy.

“I am not at the table. But what you have to do is be careful. The truth is, there’s negotiations taking place. There’s a lot of things on the table. What we want to do, what we have indicated quite clearly and the prime minister has indicated quite clearly. The only NAFTA deal that we will sign is a deal that’s good for Canada,” said MacAulay.

He also played down the ongoing trade tensions between Canada and the U.S., saying there will always be “little problems” between countries.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Blackfalds holds annual Charity Check-stop

Central Alberta Victim Services and Blackfalds FCSS benefits from donations

Blood donor clinic set for Dec. 24th in Lacombe

Canadian Blood Services has called for more than 30,000 blood donors across the country

U19 Sting ringette goes 3-2 in Lacombe tournament

Spruce Grove goalie keeps Central Alberta out of medal round

UPDATE: Lacombe Generals finish 2018 on four-game win streak

15 goals in two games has Generals sitting pretty

40-year Big Brother match a gift to Lacombe man

Andy Pawlyk and his Little Brother Chris Selathamby honoured at BBBS Awards Night

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

Privacy watchdog says legal cannabis buyers should use cash, not credit

Some countries could bar entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis

‘A start:’ Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

A further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects

Two-year-old attacked by cougar near Mission, B.C.

Boy not seriously injured in incident on Monday afternoon

Trump signs order to create US Space Command

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to create a U.S. Space Command.

Groups preparing new pipeline legal challenge, argue government’s mind made up

A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if the federal government reapproves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Notorious Toronto triple killer gets third consecutive life sentence

Dellen Millard gets third consecutive life sentence for father’s death.

Most Read