Supply management. You’re welcome, consumers.

Quebec dairy farmers

So you want to buy 3L jugs of milk?

Well you can’t.

There’s no use crying about it.

And don’t you dare go blaming the dairy farmers and their lavish lobbying and marketing programs.

“It’s not my place to tell Ontario consumers how much milk they should or should not drink,” writes Bill Emmott, Chair of the Board of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, in the Ottawa Citizen.

And that’s true, if you put aside the dairy farmers’ “Get Enough” campaign that features the indelible slogan “Drink your milk, mom!”

And ignore the awkward fact that the Dairy Farmers of Ontario are fighting the proposal to put 3L jugs of milk on the shelves, out of fear that people will stop buying 4L cartons of milk and they will, thus, lose profit.

But aside from those facts, the DFO is on our side, people.

“As a consumer myself, I recognize the need for Ontario’s dairy marketing system to meet the changing needs of Ontarians from a wide variety of markets and with a wide variety of consumer needs,” Emmott continues.

This is continuing a long trend whereby the beneficiaries of supply management — a multi-billion government-backed regime that operates as a cartel to advantage a small number of farmers at the expense of the Canadian consumer — stand up for the Canadian consumer.

Well, except the kosher Jews.  They got kind of screwed when the supply-managed chicken industry locked-out kosher producers.

Or, ahem, when dairy threatened the Harper Government to the point that negotiators hammering out the details of our free trade deal with Europe had to sacrifice huge benefits for the pork and beef industry in the name of preserving our protectionist collectivism.

And, yes, okay, our border protections mean that armed border guards harass any Canadian who dares bring more than $20 of cheese into Canada and, lest they pay the 246% tariff, those guards will destroy the curds.

Forget all that.  Supply management is good for consumers.  Mr. Emmott told us so!

“As a dairy farmer, I know first hand the importance of meeting the needs of Ontario consumers,” he reiterated.

“While American dairy farmers receive billions of taxpayer subsidies, Ontarians are not expected, nor are asked, to subsidize the dairy industry through their tax dollars.  Other jurisdictions permit the use of synthetic hormones to meet market needs.”

Not a single penny goes towards those self-sustaining farmers!  Except the $8 million we give to the Canadian Dairy Commission to help manage the system.  Oh, and the $20 billion we have on our national ledger — the estimated cost in quotas that Ottawa, technically, owns and leases to dairy farmers and that, if it ever decided to end supply management, the Canadian Government would need to buy back from the farmers at a huge loss.

Other than that: not a red cent!

Now for all you naysayers with all these hippy-dippy ideas of dismantling this Soviet-era scheme, I’ve got a few myths to bust, with the help of the dairy farmers’ handy propaganda guide.

Myth 4: Supply management hurts consumers:

Retail prices for Canadian dairy products are comparable to prices in other countries.  [Okay, not true] Canadians are also spending less on dairy products — the percentage of their income spent on dairy has fallen from 1.2 % in 1990 to 1.07% in 2010.  [this despite the cost of milk rising at double the rate of inflation]  In fact, Canadian consumers have a good deal on food.  [Most food doesn’t benefit from the supply management system.]  On average, households spend about 10 per cent of their income on food and alcohol, one of the lowest in the world.  [Mmm, milk alcohol.]  By February 7, Canadians had earned enough money to pay for food for the year, making Canada and the UK and the U.S. the top three countries where food is most affordable.  [Okay none of this has anything to do with milk.]”

So there you have it.  Supply management: good for the consumer!

That’s proof.

Ignore all those nay-sayers, like some members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery who spent a lot of time and work researching just how far-reaching and powerful the dairy lobby is.  Definitely don’t read anything from them.  And don’t get a subscription to magazines which publish such tripe.

This is a simple matter of meeting the needs of both Ontario’s consumers and dairy farmers,” writes Commissar Emmott, driving the point home.

So hats off to him and his apparatchiks, champions of a system that benefits those lowly, impoverished, giant factory farms.

Even if they still haven’t told us why we can’t have 3L jugs of milk.

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