Thursday, October 17, 2013


As I read today's headlines, one stood out about Canada's PM Harper having reached a trade agreement with the European Union. Cool I say, Maple Syrup everywhere. But as I read on, this jumps out: 

Canada’s dairy farmers ‘angered and disappointed’ by EU trade deal that would double cheese imports

Of course there has to be a lobby for everything, including dairy farmers. And they are upset that Canada is being opened up to more Euro cheese. Now, some of you who read this are not from Canada, let me tell you that dairy products (especially cheese) are very expensive in Canada. I'd say up to 60% more than the same product in the US or Europe. It was always one of my main comments when we lived in Canada, that the Saputo Cheese Mafia  gouges the consumer with their sub par products. 

I am not an expert, so I watched a couple of videos on You Tube by Wally Smith, the chief dairy farmer who droned on about how subsidized cheese from outside the country ruins their way of life, yada yada yada, how Canadian cheese this, American engineered cheese that and how they should keep fighting to protect their industry by blocking that trade agreement.  Huh? 2013? I don't get it. It sounded very protectionist. Very 1978.
I'd think rather than starting a battle the farmers won't win, they should invest their membership dollars into educating customers at home and promoting their products around the world. Just recently this Ontario cheese won a global competition in England. and some other Canadian cheeses I had in Calgary were excellent as well.
They don't need to hide their achievements. Unless of course their chief milking guy tells them to. For sure there are other arguments to be made, such as the Canadian food police making small producers jump through hoops to justify those high prices. But more than 50% higher than the US?  

To clue in the facts, currently only 2% of total cheese consumption in Canada is permitted to be imported from Europe. In the trade agreement it was agreed upon to double that to 4%.  No matter where in the world, if a trade organization is afraid of a 4% share of the pie, they suck at what they do. The managers, not the farmers. 


Sheila said...

Imported cheeses, including Black
Diamond (a favorite), run about
$15 to $18 a pound. Domestic in
$7 to $10 range. This is at the
supermarket, no specialty delis, etc. around here.

H.Peter said...

In Canada, eggs, chicken and dairy aren’t sold like most goods. Farmers get a quota to produce so much. Competition is kept out. There’s a small quota for imports, but once it’s met, they face tariffs of more than 200 per cent. A $10 French cheese is hit with a $24.50 duty.

Merisi said...

I wonder if Canadians can sneak down to the USA and buy some fine aged Cabot cheddar in Vermont without being overtaxed upon return?

H.Peter said...

I am certain many do. The key is though, it should not be that way.

Life is not long enough to miss out on good cheese.