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VIEW: ‘Ignatieff’s national food policy contravenes NAFTA,’ says National Post

The National Post editorial board writes this morning that Michael Ignatieff’s recently announced national food policy “would spend $80-million to promote farmers’ markets and local food, and $40-million to buy ‘healthy food’ for 250,000 low-income children. It would also drop $50-million to beef up food inspections and ensure that imported foods meet domestic standards, ‘improve’ food labeling and impose strict standards on trans fats.”

And while the National Post critiques this policy by saying, “We simply can’t grow everything we like to eat in our own backyard,” they highlight that, “More importantly, this policy would most definitely contravene NAFTA and spark another round of trade wars.”

They believe Ignatieff’s policy “is clearly designed to favour homegrown fare by subsidizing it (to artificially lower prices) and by turning away ‘substandard’ foreign food.”

But given Ignatieff is very much a supporter of NAFTA, what’s at play here?

A new realization about the unsustainability and climate change impacts of much of the global trade in food? Not likely. An unawareness of the reach of trade disciplines? Possibly. A strategy to get Liberal votes in the next election? Definitely.

Still, it would make much better sense to abrogate NAFTA than abandon the idea of a national food policy.

The full editorial is at http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/story.html?id=2958869.