Many years ago, Canadians passed a nationwide referendum to support their country’s small family farms by subsidizing dairy products.
Family farms found themselves faced with widely fluctuating commodity prices that bankrupted many of them. Canadians believed that supporting family farms was something they wanted to continue, even if it meant that they would personally have to pay more money for dairy products.
The referendum passed and, ever since, Canadians have willingly paid more money out of their own pockets to support their farmers, thus keeping many more family farms in business than the United States, which saw huge numbers of farmers go bankrupt at this time. This subsidy for dairy farmers amounted to a voluntary tax that Canadian citizens agreed to pay in order to keep their family farmers in business.
President Donald Trump left the G-7 summit upset about dairy tariffs and what he sees as unfair Canadian trading practices. Never mind that the dairy farm industry makes up less than two-tenths of 1 percent of the trade deficit our country has with Canada.
If Canadians agreed to drop their tariffs on dairy products, they would lose overnight huge numbers of family farms they have sought to preserve. Personally, I hope they hold fast to their currently dairy farm policies. I only wish that the United States had done the same thing during the 1980s and 1990s when our country lost so many of its family farms.
Linda Bonar, Holladay