Milk price sys­tem needs over­haul

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial -

A re­cent ed­i­to­rial on the ben­e­fits of sup­ply man­age­ment as it ap­plies to milk (“Got milk?”, Cape Bre­ton Post, April 28) is timely, given the re­cent me­dia around its mer­its and de­mer­its as a mat­ter of pub­lic pol­icy.

But I was left scratch­ing my head at one line, where it reads “Canada’s sta­ble sup­ply man­age­ment sys­tem, which puts the bur­dens on con­sumers, is far more ef­fi­cient than Amer­i­can farm sub­si­dies, which puts the bur­den on tax­pay­ers.”

As re­cently as 2009 one-third of Cana­dian fam­i­lies paid no taxes, mostly be­cause of our pro­gres­sive tax sys­tem and in­suf­fi­cient in­comes to pay taxes. But these same lower in­come fam­i­lies still need milk for their kids, so they end up dis­pro­por­tion­ately pun­ished, pay­ing as con­sumers ‘taxes’ (the costs of sup­ply man­age­ment) on the high re­tail price of milk what they would oth­er­wise not pay if the bur­den or cost of sup­ply man­age­ment was cov­ered from all taxes, per­sonal and cor­po­rate.

Cana­di­ans pay two to three times more for milk than Amer­i­can (and more than Euro­pean) con­sumers. Their milk is sub­si­dized across the en­tire tax base, which is to my view fairer for low in­come con­sumers, rather than by those con­sumers alone.

When you think about it, At­lantic Cana­di­ans are even more pe­nal­ized be­cause milk costs way more than the rest of the country, but in­comes are gen­er­ally lower.

How is this sys­tem more fair? The ques­tion isn’t ‘Got milk?’ but whether Cana­dian fam­i­lies, par­tic­u­larly lower in­come, are get­ting milked. Derek But­ler St. John’s, N.L.

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