Dairy farmers, environmental groups protest outside first ministers' meeting
Environmental groups and dairy farmers held protests outside the first ministers’ meeting in Montreal Friday to make sure Ottawa knows where they stand.
“Dairy producers are here today to say enough is enough, stop using the dairy industry as a bargaining chip for trade agreements,” said Jacques Lefebvre of the Dairy Farmers of Canada.
As part of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, the Canadian dairy market will open up competition to the U.S. by almost four per cent.
For some, it means a loss of revenue in the thousands.
“Dairy farmers regularly will call in our interactions and the questions they're asking now are, ‘Should I leave the business? What am I supposed to tell my children?’” said Lefebvre.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault says the prime minister assured him dairy farmers would be compensated.
“They are working together right now to establish what is this amount,” he said.
Alberta' Premier Rachel Notley used Friday to focus on the oil price crisis.
“I did make the point that the concerns we are facing, which is in effect an 80 per cent discount of a product that contributes over $100 billion a year to Canada's GDP, is a crisis,” she said.
Environmental groups were also outside meetings, though, hoping premiers and the prime minister would listen to their concerns. They want premiers to acknowledge reducing gas and oil production is vital if Canada wants to comply with the Paris Agreement.
“This is a battle of our generation,” said Keith Stewart of Greenpeace Canada. “Fixing climate change can also be a part of fixing our economy, of making it fairer, providing good jobs, building that green future.”