Billion-dollar corporation Saputo Foods Ltd. was given $7 million from the Trudeau government under the Dairy Processing Investment Fund, according to a Access to Information request obtained by news outlet Blacklock’s Reporter.
This arrives after the Trudeau government installed the grant program to compensate the dairy industry for the renegotiation of NAFTA that opened a bit of the Canadian dairy market to the U.S. dairy industry.
Despite the subsidies originally aiming to alleviate the strains of small businesses, large corporations have received a substantial amount of money. Saputo, for example, received the $7 million grant despite the company posting $13.5 billion in revenues in 2018, which allowed the company to pay its shareholders $254.6 million in dividends.
The agricultural minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has previously praised the fund as helping out “family-run enterprise.” In reality, according to documents obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter, the big recipients have been major corporate operations: Nestle ($958,382); Chapman’s Ice Cream ($1.1 million); Quality Cheese Inc. ($1.3 million), Arla Foods Inc. ($1.4 million), La Fromagerie Coopérative St-Albert Inc. ($1.5 million), Silani Sweet Cheese Ltd. ($1.7 million), Skotidakis Goat Farm of Eugene ($1.7 million), Smucker Foods of Canada Corp.($1.9 million), COWS Inc. ($1.9 million), Bothwell Cheese Inc. ($1.9 million), La Trappe à Fromage ($3.1 million), Fromagerie Bergeron Inc. ($4 million), Amalgamated Dairies Ltd. ($4.4 million), MDI Holdings Corp. ($5 million), and Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd. ($6.9 million).
As a result of this fund program, factories that produce cheese and ice cream can receive up to $10 million for new equipment or renovations.
“Our government will continue to invest in, protect and stand up for dairy producers across Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously said in defence of the fund.
Many Canadians that live near the U.S. border make routine runs to America to buy significantly cheaper cheese, milk, butter, eggs and poultry–all protected industries that are described as cartels in Canada.
The dairy industry has dozens of registered lobbyists in Ottawa and at provincial legislatures, and spends tens of millions in advertising each year.