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Nadeau Fights Appeal Court Verdict

by 5m Editor
13 June 2011, at 9:18am

NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA - Nadeau Poultry is calling on New Brunswick government to fulfil its regulatory role and restore stability to chicken processing industry

Nadeau Poultry says it will continue to actively pursue a solution to the chicken supply management crisis in New Brunswick, through a heightened appeal to the provincial government and now the public.

Yves Landry, General Manager with family-owned Nadeau Poultry, said: "Our battle to protect a safe and secure chicken food supply in New Brunswick – and secure local jobs based on 50 years of history in the St Francois community – is by no means over."

On the heels of a failed appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal, Nadeau Poultry will now re-focus its attention on convincing the New Brunswick government to resume regulation of the province's poultry supply management sector. The provincial government has consistently maintained that they lack the legislative power to do so even though each and every other province in Canada has, in similar circumstances, upheld their supply management regulatory function in the interests of farmers, processors and ultimately, consumers.

Nadeau Poultry is reviewing the recent court decision and considering its options, including the possibility of seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Nadeau Poultry was forced to lay off almost half of its workers in 2009 when Groupe Westco, having managed to gain a monopoly over almost 80 per cent of province's chicken, decided to divert the chickens to their Quebec-based partner for processing. This proved devastating for Nadeau Poultry, who was left without a stable alternate supply, given the amount of chicken allowed to be grown in each province is capped through a nationally controlled supply management system.

Mr Landry says the New Brunswick government failed on three fronts. First, it allowed Groupe Westco to gain a monopoly over almost 80 per cent of New Brunswick chickens despite regulations limiting control to approximately 10 per cent of the provincial quota for any one producer. Secondly, they failed to intervene when Groupe Westco started diverting these chickens to Quebec for processing, causing the loss of 165 jobs at Nadeau and economic devastation in St François. Finally, they have refused to implement any of the solutions used in other provinces to ensure supply management stability.

He said: "The government has essentially abandoned the St François community and Nadeau Poultry despite the company's commitment to the community for more than 50 years."

Former Federal Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Lyle Vanclief, says the recent federal court decision and New Brunswick's refusal to stabilise supply management does not bode well for the future of supply management in New Brunswick and possibly in Canada.

Mr Vanclief said: "Supply management protects our domestic food security, ensuring accessibility of product at a reasonable cost and with the quality we want for our milk, poultry and other commodities."

However, for the system to work, the interests of all players have to be balanced and protected, he said. "That's because supply management is like a three-legged stool – producers, processors and consumers all have to be treated fairly. When one leg is broken, there is no stability. That's what is happening in New Brunswick.

"Without supply management," adds Vanclief, "Canada could quickly become a country reliant on cheap imports that could put health, environment and Canada's food sovereignty at risk."

Nadeau proposed multiple solutions to the government that would ensure, as intended in legislation, that all processors in the province have a predictable share of New Brunswick-grown chickens. Fair allocation is an essential part of the system and is observed in supply-managed sectors in every other province.

Mr Landry added: "The recent Court of Appeal decision clearly puts the ball back in the provincial government's court. And that's where it should be given that regulating supply management is a provincial responsibility."

He pointed out that when supply management is functioning as intended, a producer would never be able to put a processor out of business. "But that is just what Groupe Westco intended when it sent the chickens and our jobs to Quebec," he said. "And the New Brunswick government, as a result of inaction, is helping them do just that."

Despite the fact that at a federal level, Canada continues to stand firm on supply management, New Brunswick Premier David Alward – a staunch defender of supply management at the Doha round of talks in Hong Kong in 2005, a former Minister of Agriculture and a farmer himself – and his government have so far not responded to Nadeau's repeated requests for meetings to further discuss the supply management crisis.

Nadeau Poultry is launching a web site to build awareness of the issue and its impact on New Brunswick's poultry processing sector, jobs, the long-term implications for supply management in Canada and the threat to Canada's food safety and sovereignty.

Further Reading

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