OTTAWA — The federal government must use its constitutional powers to give Quebec's maple syrup producers the right to sell their products as they see fit, Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier said Tuesday.
Currently, Quebec's maple syrup industry is subject to a supply management system and to a federation that dictates market volume.
Bernier told a news conference in Ottawa that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should do away with a decree that gives the federation powers with regard to the commercialization of sap and maple syrup in provincial and international markets.
The Quebec-based MP says the federal government shouldn't be worried about heeding his advice because the Constitution guarantees open trade among provinces.
"I think the idea of acting to have the Canadian Constitution respected is important and Quebecers will understand it," Bernier said. "We cannot be timid, we need to be proud of the powers granted to us in the Constitution and act."
Bernier was accompanied by producer Angele Grenier, who is asking the Supreme Court of Canada to hear her case. The maple syrup federation is seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars from her because she exported her syrup herself to Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
"In Quebec, I am stuck with this monopolistic system that deprives me of my rights," Grenier said.
"If I lose in the Supreme Court, I lose everything. I will have nothing left."
Bernier has previously promised to ease foreign ownership restrictions on airlines, privatize Canada's major airports, deregulate the telecommunications industry, end supply management for the egg, chicken and dairy industries and privatize Canada Post.