Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

A coalition of major business groups is urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to take a “leadership role” in completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership amid fears Canada may walk away from the talks to save its protected dairy and poultry sectors

Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A coalition of major business groups is urging Stephen Harper to take a "leadership role" in completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership amid fears Canada may walk away from the talks to save its protected dairy and poultry sectors.

In a letter sent to the Prime Minister Wednesday, the heads of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters urged Mr. Harper not to give up on a "historic opportunity" to expand trade.

"We just don't think supply management in agriculture – a very narrow sector of the Canadian economy – should trump the interests of all other sectors," John Manley, president of the CEO council, said in an interview.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Manley said the letter was prompted by Mr. Harper's recent suggestion that Canada might abandon the TPP negotiations, which include Canada, the United States, Japan and eight other countries.

"There are 11 other parties around the table. They could decide they've reached an agreement whether we have or not," Mr. Harper acknowledged March 12 at an event in Saskatchewan. "And so, we have difficult choices in this one, we have some areas where obviously we see great advantages for Canada, but others where there will be challenges. But we as Canadians cannot, alone, stop a deal from happening if we don't like it."

Canada is caught in a squeeze between the U.S. and other countries pressuring it to dismantle the system that tightly controls imports and production of dairy, chickens and eggs, and on the other side, farmers who want supply management kept off the table.

"We just want the government to know that we are not content with an outcome that leaves us out," Mr. Manley said.

He pointed out that the TPP, which also includes Mexico, is seen as a way to modernize the North American free-trade agreement.

"It seems disadvantageous to be outside that process," Mr. Manley added. "We can't just stand aside."

The letter, obtained by The Globe and Mail and due to be made public Thursday, is also signed by Jayson Myers of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and Perrin Beatty of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Story continues below advertisement

"The TPP is the biggest game on the planet in terms of trade negotiations," the letter said. "New international business opportunities are at stake for Canadian exporters, as is the integrity of the North American supply chains upon which much of our economy is based."

Canadian farm groups are already bracing for major concessions if Canada signs the TPP, expected to be concluded in the next few months.

"It is extremely unlikely, no matter how hard producers lobby, that the federal government will back away from the TPP," according to an internal report prepared by the Dairy Farmers of Ontario.

The report said the supply management system in dairy must change to survive.

Dairy farmers said their salvation lies in creating a new "world-price ingredient class" of milk – milk priced at the lower world price, rather than the inflated Canadian price. This would give Canadian dairy processors access to lower-cost domestic milk and create an incentive for them to invest and export high-margin dairy products.

"The industry is approaching a crossroads beyond which the existing policy framework is no longer sustainable," the report concluded. "A policy environment, which levers export potential within existing trade agreements and enables the marketing system to be operated with more milk and larger growth allowance, is essential."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies