FIRST READING: Why milk (of all issues) is Canada’s most terrifyingly highly effective foyer

Canada will get a brand new border nation (guess which one)

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First Reading is a day by day e-newsletter conserving you posted on the travails of Canadian politicos, all curated by the National Post’s personal Tristin Hopper. To get an early model despatched direct to your inbox each Monday to Thursday at 6:30 p.m. ET (and 9 a.m. on Saturdays), enroll right here.

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Canada will soon officially border two countries. The United States (obviously) and now Denmark. For years, Canada has sparred with the Danes over the ownership of Hans Island, a tiny, uninhabited outcrop of land located midway between Nunavut and Greenland (pictured above with Danish soldiers). Reportedly, the two nations have decided they’re just going to split the island down the middle. What this means is that it will soon be technically possible to go from Canada to sovereign European territory in a single step.
Canada will quickly formally border two international locations. The United States (clearly) and now Denmark. For years, Canada has sparred with the Danes over the possession of Hans Island, a tiny, uninhabited outcrop of land positioned halfway between Nunavut and Greenland (pictured above with Danish troopers). Reportedly, the 2 nations have determined they’re simply going to separate the island down the center. What this implies is that it’s going to quickly be technically doable to go from Canada to sovereign European territory in a single step. Photo by Handout


Only 4 months after getting approval to hike costs 8.4 per cent, Canada’s dairy farmers are petitioning to do it once more. The first hike was already effectively above the present inflation charge of 6.8 per cent, however in a submitting with the Canadian Dairy Commission, the Dairy Farmers of Canada mentioned some new “exceptional circumstances” had come up.  

Naturally, this doesn’t occur with different commodities on the grocery retailer. There isn’t any government-appointed board setting the costs of beef, flour or apples. If a Canadian beef producer looks like making extra money, they will increase their costs and see if anyone is keen to pay.

The dairy sector is completely different as a result of because the Nineteen Seventies it has been topic to provide administration. Basically, it’s a government-sanctioned cartel: The Canadian Dairy Commission dictates the exact quantity of milk produced each month within the nation and makes use of this top-down management to maintain dairy costs artificially excessive. Similar methods are additionally in place for rooster, turkey and eggs.

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The Canadian dairy sector can do that with out worry of worldwide competitors as a result of international imports are subjected to prohibitive tariffs of as much as 300 per cent; that is why border guards will typically explicitly ask you in case you have any cheese in your baggage (and why the police maintain busting cheese-smuggling rings).

But what’s most outstanding concerning the Canadian dairy business is the superior political energy it instructions on Parliament Hill. The most feared lobbyists within the United States come from Big Oil, Big Tech and the medical sector. But in Canada, it’s the makers of cream, yogurt and skim milk.

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Every main Canadian political occasion expresses near-universal assist for the system, and barely every week goes by within the House of Commons when an MP isn’t saying some variant of “supply management works for Canada.”

On June 1, as an illustration, dairy lobbyists delivered free milk to the House of Commons foyer for World Milk Day. This prompted the Bloc Québécois’ Yves Perron to gush that offer administration is an “effective system” and that milk merchandise are a “healthy and nutritious food.”

The NDP is these days making an enormous play about sounding the alarm on rising grocery prices, however they continue to be stalwart defenders of a system designed to just do that. Studies have estimated that, as a result of provide administration, Canadian households pay an annual grocery premium of greater than $600.

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There’s additionally the tiny situation of how provide administration is consistently holding up Canadian commerce negotiations and getting us into diplomatic spats.

Right now, Canadian dairy coverage has plunged Ottawa into simultaneous commerce disputes with each the United States and New Zealand. The Americans declare that our inflexible dairy protectionism is a violation of USMCA, the Kiwis allege we’re breaking the phrases of the successor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

And that is along with the truth that the federal authorities already pays the dairy sector practically half a billion {dollars} per 12 months as compensation for the truth that free commerce offers akin to CETA have chipped away at their nationwide monopoly on milk merchandise.

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Despite all this, provide administration counts a few of its most vocal supporters within the Conservative Party of Canada. While Conservatives are nominally opposed to insurance policies which can be protectionist, centrally deliberate, anti-competitive and intrinsically designed to stifle shopper alternative, all these reservations promptly exit the window when milk is concerned.

This dissonance is most obvious in Conservative management frontrunner Pierre Poilievre. The Ottawa-area MP has topped each single ballot of management candidates along with his marketing campaign to “fire the gatekeepers.”

The gatekeepers to which Poilievre refers embrace NIMBYist metropolis councils, the Bank of Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself. But he’s by no means utilized the moniker to a sector that’s truly fairly open about its gatekeeping.

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A Canadian farmer doesn’t want to hunt an business group’s permission earlier than planting a brand new area of wheat or beginning up a hog pen as a aspect hustle. But dairy business teams will freely inform farmers that in the event that they purchase an unapproved milk cow, they’re breaking Canadian regulation. “Dairy producers must have authorization for every litre of milk they sell to processors,” reads an FAQ by Quebec’s Union des Producteurs Agricole.

Poilievre’s rationale for defending provide administration is that dairy farmers paid fairly handsomely for his or her manufacturing quotas, and it will be too costly to purchase them out.

As to how dairy got here to carry such an outsized affect on Canadian politics, one motive is that offer managed farms are disproportionately concentrated in Quebec and Ontario ridings which have a penchant to swing elections.

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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer drinks from a carton of milk at the 2017 National Press Gallery Dinner in Gatineau, Quebec after making a joke about being in the pocket of dairy farmers.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer drinks from a carton of milk on the 2017 National Press Gallery Dinner in Gatineau, Quebec after making a joke about being within the pocket of dairy farmers. Photo by The Canadian Press/Fred Chartrand

Second and most significantly, dairy lobbyists such because the Dairy Farmers of Canada dedicate immense time and sources in direction of currying political favour.

Type the key phrase “dairy” into the federal lobbyist registry, and also you’ll flip up simply in need of 7,000 outcomes. By distinction, the phrase “lumber” yields solely 1115 outcomes and the phrase “beef” turns up solely 456.

Dairy affect was most notably felt within the 2017 Conservative Party management race. In an in depth race between the pro-supply administration Andrew Scheer and the anti-supply administration Maxime Bernier, it was a cadre of voters mobilized by the dairy sector that in the end swung the race for Scheer.

In 2018, a Dairy Farmers of Canada briefing binder unintentionally deserted at a Conservative Party conference in Halifax supplied a uncommon perception into the complexity of the group’s operations. They despatched 25 delegates, secured plush hospitality suites and even hosted a reception (with free foods and drinks) at an upscale bar. “It would be recommended to utilize the farmers present to mingle with delegates and talk about the importance of supply management,” learn the directions to Dairy Farmers of Canada organizers.

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The binder additionally included a listing of probably “unsupportive” MPs to shadow, directions on easy methods to quash a deliberate occasion vote on provide administration, and even referred to Scheer because the group’s “safety net” within the occasion that the vote didn’t go their method.

Detail from a 2018 Dairy Farmers of Canada briefing binder.
Detail from a 2018 Dairy Farmers of Canada briefing binder. Photo by Submitted

One of the Conservative politicians who doubtless would have hung out inside the crosshairs of dairy lobbyists was Joe Oliver, minister of finance below Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

It wasn’t till after Oliver’s political retirement that he felt in a position to publicly bemoan the dairy sector’s iron grip on Canadian politics and in contrast them to the famously uncompromising U.S. gun foyer. “We’ll be taking supply management from their cold, dead hands,” he wrote in 2016.

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As we’ve beforehand talked about, the Trudeau Liberals are holding on to COVID mandates with each palms even if such measures have already been rescinded on the provincial stage, within the United States and throughout a lot of Europe. And in response to a latest Hill Times story, the mandates are even staying even if even a majority of Liberal MPs suppose they’re ridiculous. “The massive majority of Liberal MPs want the mandates to end,” one Liberal MP advised the publication. “People are saying ‘What the hell, why are [unvaccinated] people not allowed to fly domestic?’”

The internet has been abuzz this week over DALL-E, an artificial intelligence program that creates images using textual prompts. This surreal and somewhat unsettling image is what it returned for the phrase “seals in the House of Commons.”
The web has been abuzz this week over DALL-E, a man-made intelligence program that creates pictures utilizing textual prompts. This surreal and considerably unsettling picture is what it returned for the phrase “seals in the House of Commons.” Photo by DALL-E mini

While loads of politicians bend the reality, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino has developed a behavior of late of claiming issues that develop into demonstrably false. First, he repeatedly mentioned that the Emergencies Act was invoked in February on the recommendation of regulation enforcement. In parliamentary testimony, nonetheless, each single police company concerned in clearing the Freedom Convoy blockades reported that they suggested no such factor. Then Mendicino mentioned the Liberals’ new gun management laws “doesn’t target law-abiding gun owners” … which is a bizarre factor to say a few invoice that very clearly imposes new restrictions on authorized gun house owners. Writing for The Line, Matt Gurney mentioned that mendacity on a regular basis (significantly relating to historical past’s first-ever invocation of the Emergencies Act) ought to possibly be grounds for resignation. Rex Murphy had a related take.

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Bill 96, the super-onerous Quebec language regulation which obtained royal assent final week, is already starting to indicate its results. You can now not acquire an English-language marriage certificates within the Province of Quebec; henceforth they’ll all be issued in French. And should you take a trip on the Montreal Metro, you’ll see Government of Quebec posters with the slogan “French at work, it’s always better” (written in French, after all). This isn’t only a well mannered suggestion; should you fail to talk French at work Bill 96 might topic you to warrantless searches and seizures by the Quebec language police.

“French at work. It’s always better.”
“French at work. It’s always better.” Photo by Submitted

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