It compelled Canada’s government and embarrassingly so at the APEC meet to pull out of any additional treaty involving dairy surplus exporters.
In doing so it pulled the rug out from under the entire TPP scheme which its Asian components saw as opening up the North American market in the form of Canada and the United States.
Foreign service officials involved in counselling their governments on adjusting to the modified Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement are finding it difficult to transmit the unadorned message that the entire scheme is finished and so are its variants.
They are finding it hard to transmit the unwanted news that the project has now devolved into a forum along the lines of the Pacific Basin Economic Council and one that experience to date indicates will have a strong socio-political and ethical basis.
The false hopes for the TPP remain in the face of the abdication of first the United States, and then of Canada.
MSC Newswire has already revealed how remaining candidate country diplomats could not bring themselves to indicate that Canada had defected, and instead pointed the finger at an unnamed “Asian” nation.
Diplomats have consistently been reluctant to concede that even President Obama, the pre-eminent sponsor of the original project, had become dismayed over the obdurate attitude of Canada in relation to making concessions over foodstuffs.
This was disguised at the time by the rapturous coverage whenever the two superstar celebrity heads , President Obama and Canada’s premier Justin Trudeau, conferred.
In the event the two found it hard to reconcile the demands of United States diary exporters in states such as New York State and Wisconsin with Canada’s determined protection of its dairy industry which is obscured to foreigners under the deceptively bland title of supply management.
United States producer determination to disrupt the ironclad supply management regime now signalled the end of the new customs union.
The tipping point was the US dairy industry shipping across the border by products from an ultra filtration membrane technique known as diafiltration.
Diafiltration is applied in butter manufacture and its by products have increased with the unexpected popularity of butter since it has been cleared of its negative health effects which have now been revealed to have been unfounded.
The reason all this is so sensitive and ultimately played out in Canada’s 11th hour quitting of the TPP is that dairy farming in Canada is centred on Quebec, the French-speaking region which periodically becomes prone to secessionism.
Hoping against hope that the original TPP would somehow scrape through with Canada as a signatory, and thus maintaining the appeal to the Asian nations, the other countries notably the Australasian dairy surplus ones were lulled into a false sense of security.
To be fair, this mood of hope had been generated by Canada’s recent signing on as a member of CETA, the EU trade agreement.
The EU emblematic dairy over-producer is France.
The volatile French-speaking dairy producing regions of Canada believe France to be “home” in the same way that New Zealanders, for example, once considered Britain “home.”
Diplomats by definition are public servants and ones that hold coveted jobs, so they tend to be retired at an early age to make way for new blood.
Blotted out from the institutional memory therefore will be the "Vive le Québec libre" call to arms (see illustration) uttered by President Charles de Gaulle, during an official visit to Canada under the guise of attending the Montreal Expo 67.
At the very, very, last moment the Canadians visualised the incendiary value of the milk powder keg and so they literally faded out of the TPP.