In January of 2019, the Minister of Agriculture, André Lamontagne, unleashed havoc by announcing that he had personally fired whistleblower Louis Robert who had denounced interference by private interest in public research on pesticides. This episode relaunched the entire debate on pesticide management, something that still does not seem to be a priority for François Legault’s government.
In the wake of the situation surrounding Louis Robert, who has since returned to his functions, the CAQ announced a vast parliamentary committee on pesticides. Pursuant to that committee which was held last September, a report was to be tabled before work adjourned in December.
The President of the Committee and CAQ MNA, Mathieu Lemay, however, mentioned that the report would not contain any recommendations. The MNA representing Maurice-Richard and Official Opposition Critic for Environment, the Fight Against Climate Change and Agriculture, Ms. Marie Montpetit, thinks it unacceptable that a watered-down report without any firm recommendations would be tabled after all of the work that has been accomplished.
The MNA reminds that 76 dissertations and over 700 recommendations were formulated within the framework of the parliamentary committee, in addition to a tour of Quebec farms and missions to France and Belgium to meet with nearly 100 people, including experts, scientists, researchers, ministers and representatives from 6 parliaments.
How can we consider presenting a superficial report without any true commitments after all the work that has been done? The CAQ seems to refuse to take responsibility despite all the solutions that are already on the table. I wonder how seriously the government is taking this issue which has consequences on the health of farmers and consumers. Is this parliamentary committee just a theatrical production and public relations operation to save the Minister of Agriculture? One has to admit that holding a parliamentary committee to calm things down and then presenting a watered-down report is seemingly becoming the CAQ’s modus operandi. It isn’t too late for the pesticides file. The issues are great and expectations are high. I invite the CAQ to compose themselves and demonstrate real political will by presenting a report that rises to the expectations of farmers, experts and the population at large.
– Marie Montpetit, MNA representing Maurice-Richard and Liberal Critic for Environment, the Fight Against Climate Change and Agriculture.