Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lies and more Lies. Will SM ever tell the truth?

Dave Janzen, Chairperson of Chicken Farmers of Canada ("CFC"), did an Op-Ed piece in the Ottawa Citizen on July 8, 2014.  It appears he was prompted by an opinion piece by Kate Heartfield of the Ottawa Citizen.

I have carefully read Kate's Op-Ed essay.  I agree with everything she said.

However, Mr. Janzen's response is: "Don't chicken out on Supply Management".  It seems he's afraid that both Kate's Op-Ed and the recent trade talks (TPP, EU, and others) are significant threats to the millionaire chicken farmers of Canada and their cozy feather bed called Supply Management ("SM").  Those threats prompted his Op-Ed response.

Maybe he's right about being under attack on two separate fronts, a dangerous position to be in.

Let's review what he said in defense of SM.

Mr. Janzen said "As a Canadian chicken farmer, I can assure her [Kate Heartfield] that supply management is alive and well and, frankly, should stay that way."

I agree that SM is alive, but is it "well"?  I have documented issue after issue of brain dead flatlining by CFC and its provincial counterparts, and the terrible toll inflicted on consumers and Small Flock chicken farmers.  It appears obvious that SM isn't well, it's dysfunctional.  Yet the millionaire chicken farmers continue to deny, avoid, and resist.  So sad.

Mr. Janzen said, "Supply management contributes more than $25 billion to Canada’s GDP every year, directly supporting more than 300,000 jobs, while ensuring robust growth for our fellow farmers in the livestock, oilseed and grain sectors."

I won't argue his statistics, but I do take exception to the invalid assumptions behind those statistics.  SM is big, on that we agree.  However, SM strangles the chicken industry in Canada by killing off any hope of significant chicken exports.  If SM didn't exist tomorrow, the Canadian chicken market would increase significantly.  Secondly, if SM didn't exist, or it let the non-SM system some freedom, those jobs and GDP would still continue, as Canadians would still want to buy and eat chicken.  So how does Janzen take credit for jobs and GDP that will exist whether or not SM exists?  That is a classic fallacious argument.

Janzen said, "For more than 40 years, this system has ensured the success of our country’s dairy and poultry industries by setting optimal production levels and ensuring fair returns for farmers."

It is almost 50 years that Canadian consumers have been chained to the wall in the SM dungeon.  When do we get paroled?  Murderers have shorter sentences than what we have to suffer.  It's been so long, it more than meets the definition of cruel and unusual punishment.

Janzen says they set "optimal production levels".  Check on CAMI Poultry in Burlington ON who can't get sufficient supply of chicken to meet the consumer's need for Hong Kong style chicken (see here, here, here, and here).  Have you tried buying pastured poultry?  Not available, except from a small flock farmer in the most part, but SM severely restrict small flockers from adequately serving this market.  SM doesn't want that pastured poultry market, but they won't let anybody else have it either.  That's greed and spite, through and through.

Janzen says "fair returns for farmers", but I have shown that his millionaire chicken farmer members got that way by gouging Canadians with bogus FCR charges for 10 years (see here), and premium profits, 21% higher than any other farmers in Canada, whether it's SM or non-SM (see here)

For 20 years, chicken prices have increased at 3.54%/yr,
regular as clockwork.  Does Mr. Janzen expect us to believe
that thousands of retailers from coast to coast are in a giant
conspiracy to regularly raise chicken prices as seen here?
Janzen said, "we do not set the price consumers pay at the stores – retailers do."  If it isn't SM millionaires who directly control retail chicken pricing, then it is being done by their friends or accomplices with their help and protection.  See the graph of retail chicken prices for the last 17 years (the data for 2012 - 2014 is similar, continuing the trend).  Just how dumb does Janzen think we are?  Pure propaganda!

Janzen says Canada's Federal government "fights for market access where Canadian products are in demand, while sustaining excellence at home for products that Canadians depend upon every day — including those provided under supply management."

Yes, it's a fight, because Canada's SM system puts us way out in left field compared to our trading partners.  Canada is the 2nd worst (only behind Japan, see here) for agricultural tariff barriers (as high as 285% to import chicken into Canada), and domestic subsidies for the government's friends in SM,. All of our trading partners are very upset with Canada on a chronic basis about Canada's crazy trade policies under SM.

Janzen claims "excellence".  Later on in his Op-Ed piece, Janzen states:

"Supply management assures Canadians that they can get a reliable supply of fresh, high-quality food at a reasonable price."
That's a joke!  Canadian chicken is mediocre at best, and getting worse all the time.  Our Canadian chicken is often contaminated with deadly bacteria and/or Superbugs (see here ).  Our Canadian chicken productivity (as measured by FCR Feed Conversion Ratio, the biggest single factor in determining chicken prices) is 25% worse than comparable chicken grown in New Zealand (see here ), and Canadians pay 50% to 300% more for our chicken than most others in the world.  Nothing but crappy lies by Janzen to fool the public.

I hereby challenge Janzen to a public debate of his spurious propaganda against the objective facts and true statistics; whenever and wherever.  Is there any national media channel willing to cover and air the debate?   I doubt he's foolish enough to accept the challenge.

Janzen said, "we are the world’s 15th largest importer of chicken. Indeed, we import more chicken than six of the TPP members — the United States, Peru, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei and Malaysia – combined! Year in and year out we are consistently the second- or third-most important market for US chicken exports."

Canada has the 6th largest economy in the world, but we're the 15th largest in chicken imports.  What does that tell you?  It's hard to get chicken imported into Canada.  Canada imports about 25% of our chicken from other countries, all done so it maximizes profits for the SM chicken farmers and their close friends.  Most of the chicken we import comes from USA, Peru, New Zealand, Australia, etc.  We import it because those countries don't have a crazy SM system that prevents them from exporting chicken.  Canada has a crazy SM system, so we hardly export any chicken to other countries (ie. we're in last place of the OECD nations, with just 1.4% market share for chicken exports, see here).  The countries Janzen lists generally don't import chicken because their domestic chicken farmers supply close to 100% of the domestic market, plus produce more chicken for lucrative exports.  Again, twisting the facts to make SM look better than it really is.  Lipstick on a pig.

Janzen said, "New Zealand is often cited as the poster child for free trade. But it does not allow a single chicken to be imported thanks to strategically designed non-tariff barriers — in this case, excessively restrictive, so-called “sanitary” rules." 

Perhaps Canada should learn from New Zealand.  Today, more than half of BC is under quarantine from a H5N2 bird flu outbreak that keeps spreading more and more.  The Federal government paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to SM chicken farmers so they could develop and implement bio-security systems to prevent these types of issues.  CFC blames wild ducks as carriers who infected the BC poultry farms.  However, the bio-security rules are supposed to ensure that domestic poultry are separated and protected from contact with wild birds.  Annual audits are supposed to be done on every poultry farm to ensure compliance on this issue.  How does CFC explain this outbreak of today, especially after it duplicates the last outbreak in BC in 2004, an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza H7N3 that affected about 1.3 million farm poultry birds; an unmitigated disaster.  New Zealand has worked hard to have no poultry diseases, unlike Canada.  That's typical of SM and Janzen to smear New Zealand's excellence as a negative event.

Janzen said, "Every country does what it can to keep its agriculture sectors viable. In most cases, that support comes in the form of massive government subsidies to farmers. Not so in supply management."

As mentioned previously, Canada is the 2nd worst for agricultural subsidies (Japan is the worst, US has significantly lower subsidies than Canada).  CFC and its SM cronies frequently claim they are 100% self-funded and no funding from the government, which he repeats here as well when Janzen said,

 "In Canada, farmers under supply management do not get a dime of subsidies.

As mentioned previously, Canada's SM chicken farmers received a government grant to develop and implement their bio-security system, and CFO received a huge grant from taxpayers' pockets so they could buy German software to help run their office ( see here).

So much for Janzen's SM fairy tales.  You can believe the truth of Janzen's propaganda, take your pick.

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