Maxime Bernier stands by his call to scrap supply management
Conservative MP Maxime Bernier is taking aim at the federal government’s approach to NAFTA and says it needs to scrap its supply management system in order to reach a trade deal with the United States.
“I think the Trudeau government right now is playing politics with these negotiations,” Bernier told BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang in an interview Wednesday.
“We won’t win a trade war against the U.S. – their economy is 10 times bigger than our economy,” he added. “So it’s impossible.”
The comments come amid growing trade tensions between the U.S. and Canada as the future over the North American Free Trade Agreement remains uncertain.
Earlier in the day, Bernier took to Twitter to voice his views on trade in response to a tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump that urged the EU to drop all tariffs ahead of a key meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
The former Conservative leadership contender told BNN Bloomberg supply management must be the first thing to go if the federal government is serious about reaching a trade deal and that it would be in the best interest of Canadian consumers.
“There are only 16,000 dairy, poultry, and egg producers in the country – and they are taking our economy hostage," Bernier said. "So I don’t understand why politicians, they don’t want to work with 35 million Canadians and to be sure to have a [trade] deal with the U.S. – and a new NAFTA.”
“I think that it’s very clear that the Trump administration, they want us to get rid of that cartel of supply management,” Bernier said.
“Right now what the Trudeau government is doing is trying to protect one industry and we are shooting ourselves in the foot doing that.”
Bernier is known for being critical of Canada’s supply management system and was ousted by Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer from his role as the party's innovation critic last month after publishing a chapter of his book on the topic.
“I’m the only one in the House who is fighting for Canadian consumers,” Bernier said. “And what’s happening right now, [is] the government is putting at risk 20 per cent of our economy in these [NAFTA] negotiations because, as you know, 20 per cent of our GDP is related to our trade relationship with the U.S.”
Bernier said he doesn’t have any regrets about being outspoken about his views.
“When you speak about conservative values and you defend conservative values, that’s the right thing to do – and I did the right thing,” he said. “I will always fight for real conservative reform and bold conservative reform.”