Minister Andre Lamontagne trusts the Order of Agrologists
Agriculture Minister André Lamontagne trusts the Order of Agrologists (OAQ) to settle the latest controversy affecting its members.
A review of inspections revealed that nonconformities were found among 14 out of 36 agronomists. The OAQ said that it took these results seriously, but added that there have already been precedents for non-compliance.
“We do not wash our hands”
In a scrum Wednesday morning before going to the meeting of the Council of Ministers, André Lamontagne has forbidden to wash his hands, but said that this issue was part of the professional order. He indicated, however, that this was certainly worrying.
“We do not wash our hands, I can express my concerns like you. However, the work of agronomists is not the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, but of the Ordre des agronomes. ”
For its part, the OAQ assured not to want to “play down” this case, but recalled that nonconformities had also been noted previously, during changes in fertilization programs for example.
Investigations taken seriously
“All these surveys are taken very seriously,” said the president of the OAQ, Michel Duval, in a telephone interview.
It is premature to want to condemn agronomists in default, he added, however. The investigation process will follow its course under the rules of the professional orders to determine the seriousness of the breach, explained Mr. Duval.
In more serious cases, an expert will be asked to determine whether it is an ethical problem, which will then be sent to the trustee for investigation, or a problem of competence, which may lead to mandatory training, etc.
“The health of Quebeckers is not in danger,” insisted Mr. Duval.
Remember that the Ordre des agronomes has been regularly in the hot seat since January, when one of its members, Louis Robert, was fired by the Ministry of Agriculture for denouncing the industry’s interference in research on pesticides. He has been reinstated since.
Asked about allegations of conflict of interest, the OAQ committed to tightening the rules with stricter guidelines on the remuneration of agronomists to prevent the payment of bonuses by major pesticide producers to encourage sales.
The Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) denounced the OAQ, which in turn denounced the UPA.
A parliamentary commission began last spring hearings on the effects of pesticides, which it will continue next fall.