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The bond of trust with the government is crumbling, warns the president of the UPA

Photo: Jacques Nadeau archives Le Devoir The president of the Union of Agricultural Producers, Martin Caron, in December 2021

Caroline Plante – The Canadian Press in Quebec

Published at 1:25 p.m.

  • Quebec

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

C This is what the president of the Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA), Martin Caron, states in a letter dated May 9 addressed to the Minister of Agriculture, of which The Canadian Press obtained a copy.

Mr. Caron recalls in his missive that farmers have mobilized 17 times in recent months and that they have still not obtained satisfaction from the government.

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

“The central message from the producers […] is undeniably the lack of recognition towards them, a deficit which, unfortunately, has still not been resolved,” he adds.

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List of “requests”

Martin Caron draws up a list of “requests” that must “be taken into consideration in as soon as possible”, ideally by the general council of the UPA which will be held on May 14 and 15.

First of all, he wants an “enhancement considerable” budgets, support, accompaniment, measures and programs. These must be adapted to regional realities.

The UPA also calls for the establishment of an “agricultural financial shield” to counter the surge in agricultural rates. interest, as well as an update of tax rules and succession assistance programs.

A “vast project” is also needed to review risk management programs. We are also asking for “reasoned” environmental rules that respect the pace of agricultural businesses.

“We intend to present to all regional advisors […] from Tuesday and Wednesday the progress of our discussions in all these respects. We already anticipate that they will be disappointed. »

To remedy the situation, the president of the UPA also requests a “significant and very short-term relaxation of numerous regulatory constraints” and a lifting of the moratorium on cultivated areas.

He also wants the reinvestment of part of the producers' contribution to the Electrification and Climate Change Fund (more than 400 million dollars since 2015), and the triggering of “Agri-recovery”.

Fed up with agriculture

During a questioning at the Salon Bleu on Friday, the Minister of Agriculture, André Lamontagne, mentioned a four-pronged strategy to notably increase the supply and demand for Quebec products.

He invited producers in difficulty to “raise their hands” and take advantage of the various aid programs already in place. The minister also took the opportunity to announce that “Agri-recovery” will soon be activated.

Farmers have demonstrated in several regions of Quebec in recent months to express their fed up, caused in particular by the disastrous fall in their income.

On March 28, in Henryville, in Montérégie, Prime Minister François Legault recognized the “crisis” in agriculture. Since then, the opposition has criticized him for his lack of vision and his slowness to react.

The liberal spokesperson for agriculture, André Fortin, demanded on Friday that a commission parliamentarian looks into the activities of Financière agricole, which “does not fulfill its mandate”, according to him.

“If my house went down in flames, what would it “was a total loss and I received 15% compensation, that would not allow me to rebuild and it's the same thing for farmers”, illustrated Mr. Fortin at a press briefing.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116