By Lynn Macnab
Eastern Ontario farmers and cheese-makers don’t seem overly concerned by US President Donald Trump’s claim Canadian dairy industry regulations are hurting American producers,
“His comments won’t affect us too much,” says Glengarry Fine Cheese owner Margaret Morris. “He’ll say anything to appeal to the public.” Morris has won numerous awards for her cheeses, including world’s best at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.
“We don’t ship cheese to the US anyway,” Morris states. “We ship technology. And that’s what they’re looking for, though it does sound like he’s looking down on Canada.”
Morris is referring to Trump’s statement April 18 when he reminded people of the executive order he signed containing accusations that Americans are relying too much on Canadians for imports.
“Buy American and hire American,” Trump stated before his speech calling NAFTA a disaster and rebuking Canada for unfair dairy rules. “Very, very unfair. Another typical one-sided deal against us.”
Dick Anderson is a Trump supporter living near Ladysmith, Wisconsin. He visited Dalkeith a couple of years ago and doesn’t believe there will be a huge impact from Trump’s outrage. Once a farmer working in one of the most advanced dairy industries in the world, Anderson doesn’t believe that Canadian farmers are negatively affecting the milk world.
“Canada’s quota system has impaired our industry to some extent, but at least it controls the market,” Anderson says. “If nothing else, we ship a lot of powdered milk your way when you throw milk down the drain because of your quota. Maybe things will change, but I doubt it.”
Other area farmers agree that Trump’s statements are unfounded and only out there to stir the public into believing that everything must be American made and America driven.
According to Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton, Canada has upheld and will continue to uphold international free trade obligations including permitting duty-free and quota-free access to the Canadian market for certain American milk products.
Donald McCrimmon is a third-generation dairy farmer south of Vankleek Hill and although he says he believes in a lot of Trump’s ideas, he cannot see that anything he says will impact the Canadian dairy industry.
“We’re too strong, too big and very committed,” McCrimmon said.
Margaret Morris is not bowing down either.
“We are going to keep doing what we do best,” Morris states. “Despite what Trump says.”