NDP Defends Supply Management

Mr. Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, NDP): Mr. Speaker, last week the Prime Minister was asked by an American journalist about our supply management system. He said “We were moving towards flexibility in those areas that I thought was very, very promising”. Last week the U.S. agriculture secretary said that the Canadian government offered to allow in more surplus U.S. dairy imports as a part of NAFTA renegotiations.

    We need a clear answer. Will the Minister of Agriculture stand in the House today, drop the talking points, and stop making concessions in our supply-managed sectors, yes or no?

Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I said many times in the House, our government strongly supports and is fully committed to maintaining the supply management system. The Prime Minister has indicated this clearly, as have I. Cabinet ministers, caucus, and our negotiators at the NAFTA table have also indicated this very clearly.

    It is important to note that this is the party that fought to implement supply management, and I can assure my hon. colleague that this is the government that will defend supply management

Ms. Brigitte Sansoucy (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Quebec milk producers are calling for an end to compromises on supply management. The milk industry has had enough of being a bargaining chip in trade agreements. Enough is enough. The NDP is clear: Canada must stop making concessions at the expense of Quebec producers. The government must not be flexible. It must be tough, and it must fully protect supply management in the NAFTA renegotiation.

    I have a simple question. Will the government do that?

Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau (Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, our government is firmly committed to protecting supply management. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food, and all members of our caucus believe in supply management, and we are committed to protecting it.