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Bloc Quebecois president tapped as party’s ag critic

Rookie MP Perron unseated former NDP ag critic in election

The Bloc Quebecois will head into the House of Commons next month with a new critic handling the agriculture portfolio.

Bloc leader Yves-Francois Blanchet has named Yves Perron, the rookie MP for Berthier-Maskinonge, as the party’s critic for agriculture, agri-food and supply management.

As the Bloc’s ag critic, Perron replaces Mirabel MP Simon Marcil, who Blanchet named Nov. 6 to handle the public safety file.

Perron, a high school social studies teacher by profession, was named last year as president of the party’s executive, a post he held leading into last month’s federal election.

In the Oct. 21 election, Perron unseated the Berthier-Maskinonge riding’s incumbent New Democrat MP, former NDP House leader and ag critic Ruth Ellen Brosseau, by a spread of 1,502 votes. Brosseau had defeated Perron by 8,905 votes in 2015.

As critic for agriculture and supply management, Perron is already expected to be on point when the party returns to the Commons on Dec. 5. Blanchet, in a separate release Tuesday, listed compensation for supply-managed producers and processors as one of the Bloc’s four priority issues.

Quebec’s dairy farmers must “absolutely” receive cheques before Christmas, Blanchet said Tuesday, referring to compensation promised for supply-managed sectors against market access granted to imported dairy products through the Canada-EU (CETA) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade pacts.

Other supply-managed farmers and processors, who so far have been “completely left on their own,” deserve specific announcements “in the coming weeks,” he added.

The federal government in August announced $345 million in direct payments to dairy producers for year one of its previously promised eight-year, $1.75 billion compensation package.

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in August that the government “will continue to work with the Dairy Farmers of Canada to determine terms and conditions for future years,” and did not rule out further direct payments. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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