Who would ever have thought that Vladimir Putin might help us bring home cheaper bacon on the Canadian prairies. The old KGB strongman is retaliating against countries who have imposed sanctions in response to Russia’s deadly mischief in Ukraine, particularly the coldblooded murder of 298 passengers on the Malaysian plane.
The sanctions are having an impact on Russia’s economy, and Putin has announced a ban on the import of food products from North America. One item which will hit the prairie economy hard is the half a billion dollars worth of pork products that we sell to the Russians every year.
That’s about a third of Canada’s pork exports, and the industry says it won’t be easy to find other international buyers. For the grocery shopper in Moscow and Omsk, it will likely mean shortages and a rebirth of black markets. Such hard times were quite common in the Soviet era. Over the past 20 years, the expanded grocery business in Russia has come to rely heavily on imports from Europe and North America, rather than fostering more local food production. Russian merchants tend to stock up months in advance, so these latest moves won’t likely have an impact for quite a while.
In western Canada, it will likely result in a significant surplus of pork, and eventually there should be a drop in the price of bacon and other products. Those prices have risen sharply in recent months, and meat packers have also reduced the size of the packaging.
All of this international intrigue is way beyond the average Canadian grocery shopper. But here’s a thought. I would gladly continue to pay an inflated price for pork, if it might somehow hurt Vladimir Putin. The man is quite simply a ‘monster’, and I wish the rest of the world could find ways to hurt him.
I’m Roger Currie