May 19, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Bond of trust with Quebec is fraying, warns UPA president

Bond of trust with Quebec is fraying, warns UPA president

(Quebec) The Legault government has been unable to “stop the erosion of the bond of trust” with Quebec farmers in recent months.

Martin Caron, president of the Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA), emphasized this in a May 9 letter to the Minister of Agriculture, a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press.

In his letter, Mr. Karan recalled that the farmers had gone on strike 17 times in recent months and still did not get satisfaction from the government.

“Other economic sectors, far less consensual than sustainably feeding our fellow citizens, have benefited from titanic support in recent years,” the UPA president asserted.

A central message from the producers […] It is undoubtedly an unrecognized deficit for them, a deficit that, unfortunately, is still unresolved.

Martin Caron, Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA)

Martin Caron drew up a list of “requests” that “must be considered as soon as possible”, ideally at the UPA General Council on May 14-15.

First of all, he wants a “significant increase” in budgets, support, support, actions and programs. These should be adapted to regional realities.

The UPA also called for the creation of an “agricultural financial shield” to counter rising interest rates, as well as an overhaul of tax rules and inheritance assistance programs.

A “comprehensive project” is also required to review risk management programs. We are also calling for “rational” environmental regulations that respect the speed of agricultural businesses.

“We want to provide all regional advisors […] Our discussions will progress on all these points from next Tuesday and Wednesday. We already expected them to be disappointed. »

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To remedy the situation, the UPA president also called for “significant and very short-term relaxation of many regulatory restrictions” and lifting of the moratorium on cultivation areas.

He also wants to reinvest part of producers' contributions to the Electrification and Climate Change Fund (over 400 million since 2015) and start an “agri-renaissance”.

During a question-and-answer session at the Salon Bleu on Friday, Agriculture Minister André Lamontagne talked about a four-pronged strategy to significantly increase supply and demand for Quebec products.

He invited struggling producers to “raise their hands” and take advantage of the various relief programs already in place. The Minister used the opportunity to announce that “Agri-Recovery” would soon be activated.

Farmers have expressed their frustration in many parts of Quebec in recent months, particularly over the devastating drop in their incomes.

On March 28, in Henriville, Monterrey, Prime Minister Francois Legault recognized a “crisis” in agriculture. Since then, the opposition has been criticizing him for his lack of vision and slow response.

The Liberal representative for agriculture, André Fortin, demanded on Friday that a parliamentary commission examine the activities of Financier Agricole, which “does not fulfill its mandate”.

“If my house burns down, it's a total loss and I get 15% compensation, which doesn't allow me to rebuild, and the same thing for farmers”, Mr. Fortin explained at Point Press.

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