Quebec dairy farmers set up blockade over powdered protein milk

A group of dairy producers demonstrated outside Montreal's Parmalat plant over the importation of U.S. high-protein milk ingredients, which aren't subject to tariffs.

MPs to vote on motion to recognize effect of importation on farmers

Quebec dairy farmers say the importation of diafiltered milk is costing them thousands of dollars. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)

A group of dairy producers demonstrated outside Montreal's Parmalat plant Tuesday morning over the importation of U.S. high-protein milk ingredients. 

Milk from outside Canada has a heavy tariff imposed on it in order to protect the country's domestic dairy industry.

Diafiltered milk, however, is not considered actual milk and therefore enters Canada tariff-free from the United States.

The farmers set up bales of hay at the entrance to the Parmalat plant on St-Jacques Street in NDG, blocking access to trucks.

Lost revenues

Milk producers hang a farmer in effigy to symbolize how the lack of regulations surrounding diafiltered milk is affecting the industry. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)
Marcel Groleau, president of Quebec's main farmers' union, said the domestic dairy industry is losing money because cheese companies are skirting the rules.

"About 8,500 families in Quebec live off of agriculture," he said.

"For the average family, they are losing between $15,000 and 18,000 a year. That's about 30 to 50 per cent of their annual revenues."

MPs to vote on motion

Members of Parliament will vote on a motion concerning the effect of diafiltered milk today after Question Period.

The motion, brought forward by the New Democrat agriculture critic Ruth Ellen Brosseau, asks the Liberal government to resolve the issue.

"Each day of government inaction contributes to the disappearance of a steadily increasing number of family farms across the country," the motion states.

With files from Canadian Press


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