Monday, May 27, 2013

Can Supply Management be Saved?

As Chris Hedges says, you can take a step toward supporting truth and justice, or you can take a step towards privilege and power.  Doing one of these automatically undoes the other.  Choose your path.

This is similar to the polarization of "You're either with us, or against us."
I received an email providing me feedback on my proposed replacement for Canada's Supply Management System .  The email was from a Supply Management insider ("SMI"), a well informed, influential insider to Supply Management, a close advisor to those with their hands on SM's levers of power.  So as to protect this person from outing and subsequent ridicule, I will not name them, thereby encouraging others like them to come forward with their comments & suggestions.

SMI suggested to me that SM could be improved, needs to be improved, but radical change of SM need not occur.  SMI feels that abandoning SM for anarchy, or nihilism, or some ill-defined alternative need not occur.  SMI likes very much the 4 Principles I proposed for any solution to the current SM system.  SMI seems to feel that it is a virtue that Canada's SM system is able to charge 300% for its SM commodities.

SMI feels that as current trade talks continue, we will probably be forced to open our borders some more to foreign goods (ie. the SM commodities of dairy, eggs, chicken, and turkeys), and our high domestic prices may have to drop somewhat, but SMI sees this as no reason to throw the SM baby out with the bathwater.  SMI feels it is highly unlikely that Canada will be forced to fully open its markets to foreign goods and totally dismantle our SM system.  The nuance I sense is that SMI feels that the winds of change against SM are mainly from outside of Canada, and most people within Canada are oblivious or apathetic towards SM and what it does for us (does to us).  It's almost as if SMI feels that SM is similar to maple syrup and hockey, that SM is one of the important factors of what makes us Canadian.

SMI seems to feel my proposal will upset the leaders of SM, cause them to feel threatened, and therefore cause them to fight against it, rather than support it.  SMI said, "...the SM boards themselves need to be convinced that ... their situation is untenable."

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"
Quote by Upton Sinclair (1878 - 1968), prolific American writer, including The Jungle (1906), which exposed scandalous conditions in the U.S. meat packing industry, causing a public uproar that contributed in part to the passage a few months later of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection ActTime magazine called him "a man with every gift except humor and silence."

SMI also said, "Internally I think they see big problems in how the mechanics of the system is operating, but do not see a need to wind the system down. Any proposal for big changes in supply management will need the SM groups' buy-in; they are stuck in marginal changes when they should be making big changes, but I don't see why they would support a process for wind down."

I agree with SMI, that the SM leaders can barely bring themselves to contemplate incremental, marginal changes.

I believe SM leaders have to expend huge efforts hiding the truth from themselves and all others.  Cognitive dissonance is when a person must finally admit a previously denied and avoided truth, for to continue denying it further would be a full admission to themselves of their insanity (ie. no longer in touch with reality).  SM leaders, in my opinion are a long, long way from cognitive dissonance

SMI suggests that I focus my efforts on helping SM to:   a) become a little more liberal;   b) lower their domestic commodity prices just a little (or slow the rate of cost increases ??);  and c) obtain growth in the industry.

My response to SMI was as follows:

Thanks for your feedback, I really appreciate it.

As a management consultant for the last 23 years, I always told my clients, "As bad  as it looks today, 95% of what you were doing is good stuff.  It's that last 5% is what is driving you crazy and causing all of your issues.  We need to focus our efforts there."
When I got started on SM in Jan. 2012, that is what I assumed would apply here as well.

Since then, I'm beginning to see just how bad it is.

Witness the egg marketing board fiasco here:
and here:

For the chicken side, I calculate that they are raping the Canadian public every year as follows:

  • $11 million/yr planned Pullet Supply Management premium (coming soon to a province near you)
  • $143 million/yr Chicken feed premium pricing
  • $945 million/yr Bogus FCR in farm gate chicken pricing
  • $10.8 Billion/yr Premium price of Cdn. chicken over US price
  • Total $11.9 Billion per year taken out of Canadian's pocketbook every year.
I hear similar issues on the dairy side.  Witness the pizza pack fiasco on cheese.

Turkey is pretty quiet.  Can we assume all is OK over there?

Pullets can't wait to join SM5, at a starting cost of $11 million per year, and rising.  See

Those who are channeling and directing this SM system, and simultaneously benefiting from it, will they voluntarily stop?  I seriously doubt it.

They now have 2+ generations fully steeped into their traditions and myopic view of the world, similar to how most psychopaths see their victims; they just don't see a problem with what they are doing.   They think they're doing "god's work", and we should all be thankful for their tireless effort on our behalf.

Unfortunately, we don't have Diogenes to help us find the one honest man in the SM system.

I'm sure all of these SM bureaucracies, [ reference to SMI's organization], you, and many others have good people who are trying to do a good job for the "system" they work for.  While they work for the system, they didn't create it, they just accept it as somebody else's decision that they are carrying out the best they can.  In other words, careerism.  It's good for their career to bolster the current SM system as much as they can, because the alternative is frightening.

Those in control of SM will not stop on their own.  We, the Canadian public, can either accept our fate, to continue to be subjected to their whim to do with us as they please, or they have to be stopped against their will.  Like any psychopath worth their salt, they will do everything in their power to retain dominance and control over their historic powers, privileges, freedoms, and their victims.

All that above sounds like a manifesto.  I never thought I'd get that black & white about something.  Unfortunately, I see no other choice with these people.

If all the above is true, or just 1% true, I don't see a graceful evolution, or a few minor fixes around the edges.  SM may have worked & was needed at some time in the past, but is rotten to the core today, and the cancer needs to be removed.

If I'm missing something, if there is some glimmer of hope in this pile of smoking ruins called SM, please point it out to me.

Glenn Black
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada


  1. There isn't sm just gets owned by bigger boys all the time and you pegged it that the feed company's are in on it you don't hear about the turkey quota because it was the firsrt one to be almost whole owned by big boys it will be harder to fight them as they start to own more of the other quotas they can threaten job lose the more the processors own thee monopoly

    1. According to TFO, there are just 185 turkey farmers in Ontario, vs. 1014 quota-bearing chicken producers.

      By combination theorem (ie. how many different conversations and interactions can exist between all of these individuals), chicken farmers have 1.75 E305 relationships to manage, while there would only be 4.9 E55 relationships to manage with the 185 turkey farmers. That makes turkey 3.6 E249 times easier to control and manipulate than chicken.

      In other words, the power brokers have plans for us, stay tuned, it will get worse unless we stop it now.


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