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Mulcair urges Harper to defend supply management during TPP negotiations

NDP leader Tom Mulcair speaks at a rally in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 17, 2015.
NDP leader Tom Mulcair speaks at a rally in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Justin Tang/ The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is urging Stephen Harper to defend Canada’s supply management system “in its entirety” in the course of negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

In a letter to the prime minister, Mulcair says Harper’s latest remarks have created uncertainty for Canadian egg, poultry and dairy producers who depend on supply management for their livelihood.

The supply management system relies on marketing boards to control domestic production of eggs, milk, cheese and poultry and high import tariffs to protect against foreign producers.

READ MORE: How could the Trans-Pacific Partnership affect Canadians?

Harper said last week that Canada is “working to protect” the supply management system while taking part in the trade talks, which he insists are vital to the future health of the country’s economy.

The TPP is currently being negotiated by 12 countries including Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

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The government says TPP countries represent 792 million people and a combined GDP of $28.1 trillion.