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Quebec Dairy Farmers Protest New Trade Deal Welcomed By U.S. Counterparts

Several hundred Quebec farmers and their supporters took to the streets of Granby, Quebec last week to protest a new trade deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Photo by John Dillon for VPR

Several hundred Quebec farmers and their supporters took to the streets of Granby, Quebec last week to protest a new trade deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Photo by John Dillon for VPR

While the U.S. dairy industry has welcomed the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, Canadian farmers say it will further erode a support system that has kept markets strong and many dairy producers profitable.

Farmers made that point with a boisterous series of protests last week in Quebec.

Tractors with air horns blaring paraded down the streets of Granby, Quebec, many bearing signs criticizing President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Farmers and their supporters said the trade concessions agreed to by Trudeau – which include more dairy imports from the U.S. – ultimately threaten their way of life.

“They put a bomb in our system,” said Phillipe Swennen, who farms in St. Armand, Quebec.

Swennen has seen farmers in the U.S. struggle for years as prices plummeted due to overproduction. He says farmers in Quebec are now facing some of the same uncertainty. Some have stopped expanding or are thinking of selling out, he said.

“So now they’re afraid that the price of milk’s going to drop, and their quota will be cut, so they stop everything,” he said.

Visit VPR for the full story.