I know the powers that be have put in a lot of effort trying
to convince the U.S. government to reverse its stand on country of origin
labeling on Canadian meat products, but I think it is time to forget about the
dark cloud and focus on the silver lining.
It isn’t a new concept to position Canadian meat products as
special or premium products. But I think Canada Beef, the Canadian Pork
Council, the federal government and others in the meat industry should launch
an all out U.S. campaign focusing on “Be COOL, eat Canadian Beef” or pork or
bison or whatever it is.
“We’re different, We’re special, We’re COOL.” They need to
run some side by side photos of some old U.S. beef bone rack, and a nicely
finished AAA Canadian steer. “Which one would you rather have on your BBQ?” or
“Be COOL, wouldn’t you rather know what you’re eating” — “Be COOL, eat quality
(beef, pork or chicken etc.)” Play up the idea that the U.S. wants to
discourage Canadian imports because it is a better quality product, and U.S.
producers can’t compete.
Trying to “negotiate” something with the U.S. government is
like trying to change the wind. It’s sort of like the Queen calling for world
peace…yup, sure…that’s really makes a difference. The U.S. imposed this COOL requirement a few
years ago, the top dog World Trade Organization ruled the move violates
international trade laws, and this week the U.S. government introduced
regulations that are even more discriminatory against Canadian meat products.
Everyone is “disappointed”, “angered”, or “profoundly
concerned”, well scrap that balony. Time to play hardball. What have we got to
lose? All is fair in love, war and advertising. The U.S. government, and I
suspect U.S. beef producers — our good friends, our neighbors, our trade
allies, our trade partners — have perfected a talent of smiling and
shaking hands while kicking you in the gonads all at the same time. They are
It’s time to up sell Canadian meat products because “we’re
COOL”…don’t be a loser eating domestic, be COOL, eat Canadian. Remember though, this is my idea, so hire me to write the ad copy.
We can start being tough with meat, then really play hardball
and reduce oil exports, and if we want to really be cruel we could cut off
maple syrup shipments….but that would just be a last resort before going to
Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner
based in Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]