BY CARL MATHIS
The end of NAFTA is being foisted upon us, for good or ill. NAFTA had some uncomfortable lumps in the road but Canadian businesses seem to have accommodated at least many of them.
This new disagreement, called such because it was agreed to under some severe stresses, pleases one person, if we believe the press. Trump is happy with it. If there is any part of Canadian business that will be better off, it has yet to be lauded in the press.
One of the potential bad parts is that the Canadian milk industry is more open to milk from American producers. We have had a controlled and mostly stable milk industry for years. The American farmers are not controlled and purposely produce an excess, each farmer hoping to squeeze the excess from his dairy into the market ahead of someone else. The milk that would come to Canada is their excess production. We would be paying them to overproduce.
This scenario is simplified or this letter would take a whole page. There is another problem with milk from the U.S. that requires too much space and maybe an epidemiologist to deal with it: the drugs that are fed to their cows that are in the milk that is produced. What is the short- and the long-range good, the bad, the indifferent of these drugs?
So, the question is: Are Canadian milk processors required by the disagreement to buy American milk? May they choose to buy Canadian or is it just the lower price that is going to be the Trump card? May the Island processors, to keep it close to home, choose to make their products, the excellent cheeses come to mind, and label and market them as made with Canadian milk?
The second question: Will Canadians buy Canadian? It is true that many people who live in cities on the border drive across to do their shopping. Do the lower prices Trump all?
In so short a time, the warm Canada/U.S. relations have become uncomfortable. We cannot tell when relations may return to what we had, or, indeed, if they will return.
Until then, is it time for Canadians to take care of Canada?
- Carl Mathis, Charlottetown, is a former music professor at UPEI, and now is a choral director and conductor on the Island.