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Quebec premier names new ag minister

Quebec premier names new ag minister

André Lamontagne will handle the provincial portfolio

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Quebec’s 42,000 farmers now know who will represent their sector’s interests in the provincial legislature.

François Legault, the new premier and leader of the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ), appointed André Lamontagne as the new minister of agriculture, fisheries and food on Oct. 17. He will also serve as the minister responsible for the Center-du-Quebec region.

Lamontagne was the party’s economy, innovation and exports critic under the previous government.

“I am honoured by the confidence the (premier) has in me, entrusting me with these important responsibilities,” Lamontagne said after his appointment, La Nouvelle union reported. “The issues of agriculture, fisheries and food challenge me and I am excited to work with the people who invest in them and help them meet the challenges they face.”

Farms.com translated Lamontagne’s statement from French to English.

Lamontagne assumes the role without a traditional ag background.

He owned three supermarkets between 1986 and 1998 and co-owned a chain of travel agencies.

But his home riding of Johnson, near Drummondville, Que., is close to a farm population, and that should help Lamontagne understand the issues producers are facing, said Marcel Groleau, president of the Union des producteurs agricoles.

“For many years, Mr. Lamontagne has represented a riding at the crossroads of Montérégie and Center-du-Québec, two regions that bring together more than one-third of Quebec's agricultural businesses,” Groleau said in a translated statement on Oct. 18.

“He is therefore very familiar with farm records. We (can’t) wait to sit down with him to discuss our proposals. Expectations are high, and we have a lot of work to do.”

Other members of Quebec’s 26-person cabinet include Éric Girard, a former treasurer at the National Bank of Canada, as minister of finance, and Nadine Girault, a business administrator, as the minister of international relations and the francophone.

Sylvie D’Amours, who served as the party’s ag critic under the former Liberal government, will handle the Native affairs portfolio.

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