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The Financière agricole du Québec must change, says André Fortin

Photo: Jacques Boissinot Archives The Canadian Press André Fortin is calling for a parliamentary commission to look into Financière agricole and carry out a complete examination of its activities.

Caroline Plante – The Canadian Press in Quebec

Published yesterday at 2:03 p.m. Updated yesterday at 11:52 p.m.

  • Quebec

Agriculture in Quebec is “on pause”, believes Liberal MP André Fortin, who is calling for major changes to the Financière agricole.

This organization offers farmers income protection, insurance and agricultural financing services.

However, Financière agricole today “does not fulfill its mandate,” Mr. Fortin said on Friday at a press briefing at the National Assembly.

The compensations that “It doesn't allow farmers who lost 100% of their harvest to rebuild their businesses, he says.

“If my house burned down, 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.

< p> “Compensation like that will handicap them in the long term for their future investments, and in the very short term it will put immense pressure on the finances of their companies,” he added.

The Liberal elected official from Pontiac is calling for a parliamentary commission to look into Financière agricole and do a complete examination of its activities, which has not been done since 2011, according to him.

He recalls that the Minister of Agriculture, André Lamontagne, recently refused to give the floor to the president of Financière agricole during the study of budgetary appropriations in the National Assembly.

“The only official to whom we did not have access during the appropriations period was the president of La Financière agricole, while there are so many people who depend on […] its programs at the moment,” laments Mr. Fortin.

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“Raise your hand,” said Minister Lamontagne

During an arrest at the Salon bleu on Friday, the Minister Lamontagne invited producers in difficulty to “raise their hands” and take advantage of the various assistance programs.

He declared that Financière agricole would contact some 2,600 companies that have been “identified” as being “more at risk” to support them. Last year, it was 700 companies.

Moreover, Mr. Lamontagne recalled the existence of an emergency fund and stressed that only 1,300 requests help had been formulated.

“People who are in difficulty, […] who are not supported to their satisfaction, raise your hand, contact the regional directorates, the Finance offices, the minister’s office,” he said.

He also indicated on Friday that he had received confirmation from the federal government that “Agri-recovery” will be activated to help producers cover exceptional costs linked to damage suffered in 2023.

“It’ll work. We have received confirmation from the federal government that there will be an intervention. We are in the last few meters […] finalizing the parameters so that we can then inform the groups,” he said.

The parliamentary leader of Quebec supportive, Alexandre Leduc, nevertheless criticized Mr. Lamontagne for not being possessed by a feeling of “urgency”.

“Farmers are angry, out of breath, and more than ever, they are waiting for concrete actions from the government. They are waiting for the government to do more and they are disappointed,” said Mr. Leduc.

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

According to forecasts from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Quebec's net agricultural income will increase from $959 million in 2022 to $66 million in 2024, unheard of since 1938.

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