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Quebec to be Compensated for Losses from USMCA Deal

02 November 2018

CANADA - Quebec dairy farmers will be compensated for losses they might suffer in the new trade deal with the US and Mexico.

CTV.ca reports that this week, the federal government announced a working group to decide how much money producers will receive as a result of the USMCA, following a promise by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"We indicated that it would be fully and fairly supported and that’s exactly what we’re going to do," said Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay. "But to do that, you have to deal with the people that are affected and that’s exactly what we’re doing with the farmers and with the processors."

The provincial government defended the needs of Quebec dairy producers on Tuesday, throwing its support behind the working group.

"It has to come with an ending that will be satisfactory for our producers and processors," said Quebec Agriculture Minister Andre Lamontagne. "That's very important."

Half of Canada's dairy farms are in Quebec and producers in the province are responsible for almost 40 per cent of Canadian milk production.

That could change after the new deal is signed. Ottawa needs to act quickly, said Mr Lamontagne.

"They will have to come up with a fair program for our people in a short period of time, but at the same time to make a right and fair evaluation of those impacts. It's not something that's going to be done within the next two or three weeks," he said.

Wendover dairy farmer Jean-Francois Janelle said he’s heard it before.

"It's not new. They repeat the same song," said Mr Janelle, whose farm near Drummondville is home to 44 cows.

Mr Janelle said his grandfather started the business five decades ago. He estimates that under the new trade deal, he'll lose close to $30,000 per year.

"I feel like my government just dropped me," he said.

The USMCA opens up Canada's dairy industry to almost 4 per cent more American competition, which could mean farms lose up to 10 per cent of their revenue.

The dairy farmers’ union is fighting for the government to make up that revenue.

"It's not enough. It's just the beginning. It will be enough when we are satisfied with the commitment of this committee," said Bruneau Letendre chairman of the Quebec dairy farmers' association.

The group is expected to come up with a compensation plan by the time the federal budget is tabled at the beginning of next year.

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