The pesticide commission ended up landing softly despite the turbulence, according to PQ member Sylvain Roy, who was the first to call for this exercise. The number of recommendations quadrupled from 8 to 32. The document was adopted unanimously by members of the parliamentary committee at a meeting on Tuesday. It remains confidential until its filing at the Blue Salon on Wednesday.
“There are elements missing, but overall, it does the job,” said the MP for Bonaventure in a press briefing. That said, we may well have 32 recommendations, we could have 52, 150, it takes money and it takes a government will to make the agri-environmental transition. “
He expects that funds will be allocated in the next Caquist budget on March 10, notably to fund research centers. He criticized in passing the public outing about two weeks ago of Liberal MP Marie Montpetit and solidarity MP Émilise Lessard-Therrien who called the commission a failure. The two deputies then made 50 recommendations and did not hesitate to produce a dissenting report. They have since changed their minds.
“We saw that it made things move in the right direction,” said Ms. Montpetit. Half a step has been accomplished, it is a half victory, but there is still a lot of work to be done. “
Role of industry
“If there are people who were worried about the independence of science, rest assured that it was fully taken into account in the recommendations,” said Caquist MP Richard Campeau after the meeting. members of the commission.
The fact that the College of Agrologists announced last week that it was tightening its code of ethics has something to do with it. The organization has released a report on professional independence with 17 recommendations, including that of banning “commission-based compensation, patronage dividends, sales contests” for agronomists. The role of agronomists, both prescribers and sellers of pesticides, was raised during the commission.
Members of Parliament Montpetit and Lessard-Therrien were concerned that the first draft of the report did not question the role of the pesticide industry in research on these products. It was this question that led to the establishment of this broad consultation.
The Caquist government agreed in March to hold a parliamentary committee to examine the health and environmental effects of pesticides in the wake of the dismissal of agronomist Louis Robert.
The latter had denounced the interference of this industry in agricultural research by transmitting an internal note from the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) to Duty and Radio-Canada.
The Caquist deputies refused to include this issue in the commission’s mandate, but it was raised during the hearings.
“We would have liked the recommendation on mandatory continuing education on handling, the use of pesticides to be included in the continuing education of agronomists,” said Lessard-Therrien. This too is a measure that was not retained. The health effects of these products are not part of it either.
“I think this is a report that will satisfy the majority of people,” said Campeau. When there are 80 briefs presented, it is obvious that there will be someone who is not 100% satisfied. He expects the MAPAQ and the Minister of the Environment to take note of the recommendations.
Will Agriculture Minister André Lamontagne include it in his plan for sustainable agriculture? “Certainly,” he replied to the Duty in press scrum. I will include many things that have been suggested by many people in Quebec for months as to what should be put in place for the judicious use of pesticides. “