If he rejects a deal with the U.S. based on his effort to score political points on supply management, that’s exactly the risk he is taking.
Justin Trudeau is accusing the Trump Administration of wanting to dismantle supply management.
However, it appears that’s not exactly the case. The reality is that the U.S. seems to be pushing for greater access to the dairy market in Canada – which would mean lower tariffs – rather than the complete elimination of the supply management system, a point noted in a recent CP article.
“The U.S. is seeking more market access for its milk products to the protected Canadian market. Trump himself has avoided directly calling for the dismantling of supply management during his frequent attacks on Canadian dairy, including during Monday’s announcement with Mexico. Indeed, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said during a June visit to Prince Edward Island that “it’s not our desire to do away with” Canadian supply management.”
Yet, Trudeau is now pushing the rhetoric in a different direction:
However, Trudeau cast the issue in black-and-white terms as he sidestepped a question on Wednesday about whether Canada would be willing to open up its market to more U.S. dairy. The prime minister simply repeated his mantra that his government will protect supply management at all costs. “That is something that we have made very, very clear to the Americans even though it has been very obvious that the Americans want us to get rid of supply management,” Trudeau told reporters at an event in northern Ontario. “I have said that is not acceptable to us.”
What this means is that Trudeau is playing a political game, casting any compromise on supply management as somehow destroying the system. This is deeply irresponsible, since it means that Trudeau is focused only on politics even as our negotiating position is stripped of all leverage and is extremely vulnerable, and even as the future of our auto industry (which is far larger than the supply management protected sector) is on the line.
The question everyone has to ask is this: Is Justin Trudeau willing to sacrifice our Canadian auto industry for the sake of supply management?
Right now, the answer appears that he’s willing to do exactly that, as the lack of a deal with the United States could very well mean massive and devastating tariffs on Canadian-made cars – something that would be an utter disaster for our economy.
Yet even at this dangerous moment, Trudeau is still focused on nothing but political games. The lack of strategic thinking, and the lack of focus on the best interests of Canada is deeply disturbing, and it’s no surprise that the more Canadians see how Trudeau is ‘handling’ this situation, the less confidence they have in him.
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