NDP MP Ellen Brosseau (Berthier—Maskinongé) tabled a motion in the House of Commons today “to ensure that the Conservatives uphold their promise to compensate cheese producers, who may be overlooked in the ratification of the Canada-EU trade agreement.” The government made this promise in October after admitting that doubling Canada’s import quota for European cheeses in CETA could impact the Canadian cheese industry.
According to Brosseau:
I have met with many cheese producers personally and I can definitely say that they’re concerned. These are women and men who have worked tirelessly to build their businesses and create an important industry in Quebec’s economy. The federal government can’t just abandon them.
In December, Quebec’s artisanal cheese makers suggested they could lose $450 million a year to the added European competition, mostly in additional quantities of high-end EU cheese varieties. Quebec Premier Pauline Marois said at the time:
I promised [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper that the [CETA] accord would be presented to the National Assembly once Ottawa had reached a deal with our cheese producers on compensation. Until we get that deal, I will not table the accord and it will not be applicable.
The NDP press release concludes, “the Conservatives are still refusing to release the details of the agreement in Parliament and they avoided proposing any compensation in the latest federal budget.”