In July 2003, outside the mini-ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Montreal, a large coalition was formed to defend supply management: GO5, Coalition for a Fair Farming Model, Supply Management.
Supply management is a farming model that governs milk, table and hatching egg, chicken and turkey production in Quebec and Canada. The approximately 14,500 farmers producing supply-managed commodities (milk, poultry, turkey, table eggs and hatching eggs) earn their living based on market prices and not subsidies but need border protection as a defence against the subsidies paid to farmers in other countries.
Since its creation three years ago, the GO5 Coalition has been able to rally to its cause nearly 30,000 supporters and a number of organizations that believe in a strong agricultural sector and a prosperous food industry. This coalition brings together farmers, agri-food partners, companies, financial institutions, consumer groups, unions, municipalities, MNAs, MPs and individuals.
The GO5 Coalition's actions are intended to support the Canadian government in its efforts to obtain the conditions necessary for the preservation of the supply management system in Quebec and Canada at the end of the current WTO round of negotiations. Launched in 2001, the Doha Round included agriculture as a key issue in the multilateral negotiations. Five years and many ministerial conferences later, the 150 member countries have not reached agreement on how to liberalize agricultural trade, which is holding up the overall negotiations. The talks entered a final sprint in 2006. The ultimate deadline for reaching an agreement on agricultural trade is the end of this year.
In the current context in which proposals by countries or groups of countries pose a threat to supply management, the Coalition defends and promotes supply management as a fair food model that benefits farmers, processors, consumers and governments.
Members receive a newsletter that informs them of the Coalition's activities and developments in the negotiations. The Coalition also has an Internet site that features studies conducted by renowned researchers and much more: www.go5quebec.ca.
Other organizations similar to GO5 have emerged since 2003:
June 13, 2006
The GO5 Coalition held its second partnership forum on Tuesday, June 13, at the Maison de l'UPA to review developments in the World Trade Organization negotiations and agriculture-related issues. Representatives from some 15 enterprises and organizations from Quebec's civil society took part in this information meeting. One of the speakers was Steve Verheul, Canada's chief agriculture negotiator, who spoke directly from Geneva.
Dissemination of a partial update of a study on the performance of supply management in the dairy production sector in Canada by Daniel-Mercier Gouin, Director of the Groupe de recherche en économie et en politique agricoles and a professor at Université Laval.
Dissemination of the results of a comparative analysis of regulatory systems in the poultry sector in Canada, the United States, France and Australia, conducted by Daniel-Mercier Gouin, at the Annual General Meetings of the Fédération des producteurs de volailles du Québec, the Fédération des producteurs d’œufs de consommation du Québec and the Syndicat des producteurs d’œufs d’incubation du Québec. Mr. Gouin is Director of Groupe AGÉCO and a professor at Université Laval
In an open letter signed in December 2005, 18 Quebec personalities publicly supported supply management because it is a model that respects the principle of a nation’s right to food sovereignty. These representatives of Quebec civil society and representatives of social organizations advocate the primacy of the alienable right of countries to food sovereignty and the precedence of this right over any agricultural trade agreement. The letter, published just before the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference, also calls on the Government of Canada to do everything in its power to preserve supply management.
November 22, 2005
The House of Commons unanimously adopted a motion giving clear direction to the Government regarding the defence of supply management at WTO negotiations so that at the end of the current round of negotiations, Canada obtains results that ensure that the supply management sectors are subject to no reduction in over-quota tariffs and no increase in tariff quotas.
November 16, 2005
The Quebec National Assembly adopted a unanimous resolution reiterating its unfailing support for supply management. This motion calls on the federal government to mandate its negotiators to obtain results at the end of this round of negotiations that will allow the supply-managed sectors to avoid a tariff reduction and an increase in tariff quotas.
October 23, 2005
Solidarity march and rally under the banner "Feed our people first" in Montreal gathering more than 1,000 people and many Quebec personalities.
April 21, 2005
Collaboration with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture in the organization of a seminar on agriculture as part of the WTO Public Symposium in Geneva.
November 10, 2004
A forum held in Quebec City and attended by more than 200 farmers under supply management revealed the results of a study evaluating the performance of the supply management system in dairy production in Canada by Daniel-Mercier Gouin, Director of the Groupe de recherche en économie et en politique agricoles and a professor at Université Laval.
June 2004 (as part of the federal elections)
- Media tour in Montreal, Trois-Rivières and Quebec City
- Introduction of the new Coalition advisor, Mr. Pierre Marc Johnson.
- The signing of the Declaration of support for maintaining supply management, a fair farming model, by the leaders of the four major federal political parties and 120 candidates in Canada, 67 of whom were from Québec, in which they personally pledge to ensure that the supply management model is maintained at the end of the WTO negotiations.
June 8, 2004
Unanimous adoption by Québec's National Assembly
Regional activities of the GO5 Coalition in eight cities in Quebec.
Attendance at the Ministerial Conference in Cancun where a Web-cast press conference was held for the Quebec media.
July 27, 2003
Launch of the Coalition at the World Trade Centre in Montreal.