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Ottawa-area farmers hold tractor protest against Trans-Pacific Partnership

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Photo: Council of Canadians

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Ottawa-area farmers brought a long convoy of tractors into downtown Ottawa yesterday morning for a protest against the concessions the Harper government is poised to make at the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks in Atlanta this week.

CBC has reported, "Canada is preparing to open the border to more American milk, without getting reciprocal access for Canadian dairy farmers in the United States... Trade Minister Ed Fast will leave the campaign trail to join his counterparts in Atlanta on Wednesday [Sept. 30], intent on concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks. ...What Fast offers could seriously disrupt the supply-managed dairy sector. The short strokes on dairy come down to how much of Canada's domestic market would be opened up to American products to compensate U.S. dairy producers for opening up their market to TPP partners such as New Zealand, an aggressive and competitive dairy exporter."

The article adds, "Canada is prepared to offer up a significant share of its domestic market (as defined by consumption levels), including not only fluid milk, but also possibly butter, cheese, yogurt or the milk powders and proteins used to make other foods. The American goal for dairy market access was nine or 10 per cent, a figure that prompts dairy industry folk to use words like 'enormous' and 'annihilation'. But even if Canadian negotiators successfully push back, an offer of even half that would be huge. ...The trade deal would not offer Canadian dairy products any new international markets. So, more imports would mean a smaller Canadian industry."

The Council of Canadians opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership. Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow comments, "Another bad trade deal! The most awful part of this is that the Harper government admits that its concessions will shrink the number of farmers in Canada. What ‎kind of government would deliberately shrink their own food production?"

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