The conspiracy to inflate food prices is real. It’s time to rethink supply management

The Globe and Mail has uncovered a wide-ranging conspiracy to inflate food prices, a dastardly scheme that has driven up the costs of basic groceries even as inflation pinches household budgets. Even worse, this plot has existed for decades, enriching the conspirators at the expense of Canadian families, year upon year.

We speak, of course, of agriculture supply management and its “marketing boards” whose aims are not so much about marketing as they are to constrain supply, to dampen innovation and competition – and to keep prices elevated.

There have been lots of conspiracy theories swirling around of late about what is behind the increase in food prices, which have outpaced the general rate of inflation. The leader of the NDP, for instance, remains convinced, without citing anything approaching solid proof, that corporate greed – so-called greed-flation – is the culprit.

The House of Commons agriculture committee is busily digging into the issue, calling grocery industry executives in for a grilling in December. Absent from the invitee list was anyone from, say, the Canadian Dairy Commission, who might be able to give a detailed explanation to Canadians as to why it felt the need to raise its benchmark price three times in 12 months.