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Calling for support for Quebec producers

Calling for support for Quebec producers

Quebec solidaire wants the Legault government to create an emergency fund

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

One of Quebec’s opposition parties is calling on Premier François Legault and his government to set aside funds for farmers during these challenging times.

A spokesperson for Quebec solidaire, which has 12 out of 125 seats in the province’s national assembly, is imploring the government to do more before it’s too late for some farmers.

"We can't wait for the next budget to give agricultural producers some breathing space," Gabirel Nadeau-Dubois, who represents the riding of Gouin, told the Canadian Press. "Of course, there are a lot of things to do, there are a lot of programmes to review, and there are issues that won't be resolved in a few days. But one thing the premier must do quickly is to release an emergency fund to provide immediate financial assistance to farmers who need it because last season was catastrophic, and 2024 is shaping up to be difficult too.”

This recent call for more support came after Quebec farmers staged a protest last week.

More than 300 producers drove their tractors through Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu on Friday to voice the challenges they’re facing.

"We already have people going bankrupt. We already have people shutting down, doing something else. A lot of farmers already have to work almost part-time, if not full-time, outside the farm to be able to make ends meet," Stephanie Levasseur, vice-president of the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), Quebec farmers' union, told CTV News.

During the protest, supporters held signs with messages like “put us at the heart of the solution.”

And a sign called on the Legault government to increase the agriculture budget.

The sign, translated from French to English, said agriculture received less than 1 per cent of budget spending when there are 8 million mouths to feed.

Figures from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada paint a bleak picture for Quebec farmers.

The department’s forecasts show net ag income in Quebec will drop from $959 million in 2022 to $487.1 million in 2023 to $66 million in 2024, the UPA says.

Nationally, the Conservative Party of Canada introduced a motion in the House of Commons on April 9 calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to meet with premiers to discuss the carbon tax and its effect on Canadians.

This motion follows requests from multiple premiers including Danielle Smith of Alberta, Doug Ford from Ontario and Scott Moe from Saskatchewan for a similar meeting.

“The carbon tax, on a net basis, will cost Alberta households more than $900 this year if the tax remains implemented,” Premier Smith wrote in her letter.

“This recent 23 per cent increase to the carbon tax has led to a sharp rise in gas prices across Ontario, reaching record-high levels this week,” Premier Ford wrote. “The strain the increased carbon tax costs are putting on Ontario families and businesses cannot be overstated.”

Prime Minister Trudeau has since denied the meeting requests with a spokesperson saying the provinces and territories worked in 2016 on carbon pricing.

This reaction is tone deaf, said Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre.

“Justin Trudeau doesn’t understand that if you tax the farmer who makes the food, and the trucker who ships the food, you end up taxing the family who buys the food,” he said in a statement.

Farms.com spoke with two Ontario farmers after the April 1 carbon tax increase.


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