The PQ wants 70% Quebec food in schools and hospitals

The PQ wants 70% Quebec food in schools and hospitals

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The Parti Québécois wants schools, hospitals, ministry cafeterias and all other public institutions to be served dishes made from 70% Quebec products. 

“This is a message to encourage our farmers and support our economy,” said PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, visiting a dairy farm in Sainte-Gertrude-Manneville, in Abitibi.

In 2018, the Parti Québécois spoke of “food sovereignty” and offered 50% Quebec food in Quebec institutions. In 2022, with the pandemic and the war in Ukraine which have caused shortages of all kinds for two years, the question takes on a more particular dimension.

Thus, the new chef Paul St-Pierre Plamondon proposes to increase the proportion of Quebec foods to 70% in a first term.

“We have seen it in times of a pandemic, if we are not able to guarantee that we can feed our people, regardless of the circumstances internationally, we are taking a huge risk on the essentials”, explained Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon, in an interview on the sidelines of the announcement.

According to him, this is a moral duty, but also an environmental one. “These are gestures that should have been done a long time ago,” he said. It was in the PQ program in 2018, and there, we are even more demanding because there is an environmental issue, which means that we absolutely want to buy local and support our farmers more.”

< p>He adds that the greenhouse gas reduction targets proposed by his party cannot be achieved without modifying our economy. Continuing to depend on “very fragile” international markets constitutes, according to the chief, an “tremendous risk”.

“We saw it with the masks [during the pandemic], you remember when the States were stealing the masks, imagine if it was food.

“The first player to set an example must be the Quebec state, which says: we buy in Quebec and what we serve is Quebec,” he added.

60% by 2025 for the CAQ

In 2020, the Minister of Agriculture André Lamontagne presented for the first time a National Strategy for the Purchasing of of Quebec foods, which provides that by 2025 all Quebec institutions should source up to 60% of Quebec products.

The minister then recognized that the institutions were not really making an effort and were buying about 30% Quebec products or up to 50% for those that were a little more organized. The government estimated this objective at $180 million more for producers or 3,000 jobs.

For its part, the Parti Québécois believes it can apply the measure at zero cost by increasing supply, grouped and strategic purchases according to the seasons and shorter supply circuits.

Severe penalties

To achieve this, the PQ intends to better protect agricultural land against developers and foreign interests by imposing severe penalties on speculators who do not exploit their land.

Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon had no numbers or details on the mechanics of these penalties. “But trust me, it will be proportional to the astronomical profits that are made on the backs of our farmers, and it will be enough to discourage this behavior,” he said, when questioned on the subject.

The political formation wishes to better support the next generation by setting up long-term loans for the acquisition of “agricultural assets” such as the purchase of a combine harvester at fixed and low rates.

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