Canada Tops the World Rankings: In Milk Prices
During our recent vacation in Argentina, Canada appeared in the news three times. There was a television report on the forest fires in British Columbia, a two-page newspaper article on a terminally ill Victoria man’s assisted suicide, and an article in LA NACION on the price of milk in Canada. Well, the story was motivated by concerns about the high price of milk in Argentina. A retail industry association study of 33 countries revealed that Argentina has the second highest price of milk at $1.55 per litre. But not the highest price. First place went to Canada with a price of $1.86 per litre, 20 per cent higher than in Argentina.
Most Canadians are aware that we pay higher prices for milk products than in the United States and New Zealand because our supply management system, which restricts domestic production and limits imports from other countries, has become an obstacle in negotiating trade agreements, or re-negotiating NAFTA in the case of the U.S. Freer trade will boost investment and employment in Canada, but supply management has become the “ball and chain” of our economic policies. Even worse, it is a regressive policy that imposes a burden on low and middle income Canadian families, especially those with children, for the benefit of a small group of farmers with above average wealth and incomes. It is unconscionable that Canadian politicians continue to support this inequitable, regressive policy that thwarts our economic opportunities to trade with the rest of the world.
Post-script: The federal government is currently revising Canada’s Food Guide. I wonder whether it will continue to recommend that a Canadian child have two to four servings of the world’s most expensive milk?