Montreal, December 15, 2010 – Now that the projectors at the UPA annual meeting have been shut off, and with a new Quebec agricultural policy in the works, it seems like a good time to scrutinize the costs and efficiency of current farm assistance programs. In 2008-2009, the Canadian agriculture and agri-food industry received $7.9 billion in government aid. In a Viewpoint published today, Mario Dumais, former UPA publications director and member of the Pronovost Commission, argues that the current support programs for the agriculture and agri-food industry are expensive, do not achieve their goals and entail unfortunate consequences for society as a whole.
“In Canada, 31% of the agriculture and agri-food sector’s GDP comes from government. It is clear that the current system of supply management, monopolistic marketing and minimum prices guaranteed by La Financière agricole du Québec does not work. On the contrary, these obsolete strategies inflate prices for consumers and undermine the competitiveness of producers. It is time to recognize that they are inefficient and to try something different,” explains Mr. Dumais. He thinks we should support reforms that promote entrepreneurship and innovation in order to make the industry more competitive and allow farmers to earn their living on the market.
The Viewpoint on the shortcomings of agricultural policies, prepared by Mario Dumais, associate researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute, can be consulted free of charge on the Institute’s website.
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The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit research and educational organization. Through its publications, media appearances and conferences, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing wealth-creating reforms based on market mechanisms. It does not accept any government funding.
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