From November 12th to 18th, the NDP organized a national action week on the issue of supply management. Three public meetings were held in my riding, at Saint-Jean-de-Dieu, Saint-Fabien and Dégelis. These consultations allowed me to have a better understanding of the concerns and the recommendations of the producers and the citizens of the region. Many of them feel betrayed by the Liberals with the renegotiation of the US-Mexico-Canada trade deal and are worried about the impact of this deal on the agriculture industry and the regional economy.

I’ve also held a joint press conference with Gabriel Belzile, president of the Lower St. Lawrence Dairy Farmers and a meeting with regional representatives of the Union of Agricultural Producers. I share their concerns regarding the gaps opened in the supply management system. With my fellow NDP colleagues, we will continue to stand with them to ensure that a fair and full compensation will be put in place. The three trade agreements (AEUMC, PTPGP, CETA) openned about 10% of the Canadian supply management market. Because of this, milk producers will produce at a loss for a whole month each year. For the Lower-Saint-Lawrence region and only for the milk production, theses breaches represent an annual loss of 23 million dollars.

Regarding qualitative standards, we believe that a standardization of the production standards imposed on local products and imported products is more than necessary. Local producers have environmental, health and animal welfare obligations that ensure the quality of our local products. Compliance with these standards brings additional costs for producers, and we need a fair system which puts an end to this unfair competition. We are also convinced that the implementation of a clear labeling system of product’s origin would allow citizens to make local and responsible consumption choices. This information should be clearly highlighted for all our food.

To end this week of action, I have participated with several members of the NDP at the "GARDE MANGER EN DANGER" event to show our unwavering support for local agriculture. Citizens from all Quebec came to show their solidarity with the agricultural sector, a key driver for the vitality of our regions. Together, we can put pressure on the government to put in place full compensations. So far, Justin Trudeau doesn’t seem understand the impact of this issue for our regions, so we must continue to show your support for the men and women who work hard to support local agriculture.

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