Commission on pesticides: “the government of convictions or puppet”?

Commission sur les pesticides: «gouvernement de convictions ou marionnettes»?

The members of the parliamentary committee of the national Assembly will decide Thursday if they will address or not on the pesticides. “This is where we will see if it is a government of convictions, or of puppets”, according to the Syndicat des professionnels du government du Quebec (SPGQ).

This request of a parliamentary committee comes from the opposition parti québécois in the wake of the case of Louis Robert, this agronomist from the ministry of Agriculture dismissed in January for speaking out against the undue influence of the pesticide industry on the research.

The SPGQ, which requires the reinstatement of their member, also calls for the parliamentary committee to allow all to express themselves, without being threatened, on the risks posed by pesticides on health and nutrition.

In an interview with The canadian Press published Sunday, the president of the SPGQ, Richard Perron, has stated that the case of Louis Robert has been a trigger to launch a “deep reflection in the quebec population, which can be seen as one extends three times more pesticides per square metre in Quebec than in Ontario.”

He said to see a great interest and indignation in people who do it never talk about politics, and who are yet aware of the fate of Louis Robert. According to him, the population realizes that the story of Mr. Robert is “the tip of the iceberg, there’s a big iceberg beneath that.”

The case Robert is a “so important for the professional capacity of the government to alert the population when health and safety are endangered”, a case that is going to order “the whole system of reprisals for the rest of the things,” he continued.

The parliamentary committees are sovereign and have the freedom to choose their terms of initiative, except that the members of the government are the majority, and can therefore accept or reject the mandate by voting as a block. This Thursday, the elected members of all parties teindront a working session to decide.

Last Thursday, the government Legault has refused to confirm the support of its elected officials at the request of the opposition parti québécois.

This decision will therefore test for the government, according to Mr. Perron. “This is where we will see if it is a government of convictions or puppets, this is a great test of credibility”, he said, in the event that the elected caquistes are a block to oppose this mandate.

Last week, the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) has acknowledged that there is a “pesticide lobby” with “the financial interests huge.

In an interview with The canadian Press, the president of the UPA), Marcel Groleau, had indicated that this lobby may not be “omnipresent”, but the government must ensure that it does not interfere in the decision-making processes.

A recent report of the ministry of the Environment notes a “significant increase” of the presence of pesticides in the rivers of Quebec. For example, in 2001, we detected glyphosate in 38 percent of samples, while in 2017, it reached 97 percent.

On Tuesday, the SPGQ is also organizing a demonstration in support of Louis Robert. Participants will walk to the ministry of Agriculture to the office of the prime minister in Quebec.

The SPGQ is also allied with trade unions from other provinces to agree upon a joint statement in support of his member.

In addition to the petition already online, which was more than 27, 000 signatures on Sunday, an English version of the petition should be circulated soon.

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