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Prominent UPA executive to run for PQ

One of the founders and leaders of the international development wing of Quebec’s influential Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) plans to run for the Parti Quebecois in the next provincial election.

PQ leader Pauline Marois introduced cattle producer and grain grower Andre Beaudoin on Friday as the party’s candidate in the Laviolette riding, north of Shawinigan in the Mauricie region.

Beaudoin served as a member of the UPA’s executive council for four years, president of the Federation des syndicats de gestion du Quebec for seven years and director general of UPA Developpement International (UPA DI) from 1994 to 2006.

Promoted to his current post as secretary general of UPA DI in 2006, Beaudoin helped spearhead the first development project in Burkina Faso in 1992 that led to the formation of UPA DI as a not-for-profit agency in 1993.

Beaudoin has also served on the board of AgriCord, an international body supporting efforts by farm groups in developing countries to alleviate poverty among farmers.

People in Quebec need more than ever to regain confidence in their elected officials and public institutions, he said in a PQ release.

Marois hailed Beaudoin’s knowledge of the agricultural world and his experience in the field as an "incredible asset" for the people of Quebec.

Beaudoin, she said, would complete an ag team that’s "already solid" with Kamouraska-Temiscouata MNA Andre Simard, the party’s current agriculture and agrifood critic, and Iberville MNA Marie Bouille, the PQ’s critic for families and a former ag critic (2009-11).

The Laviolette riding has been held by Liberal MNA Julie Boulet, currently Premier Jean Charest’s minister of employment and social services, since a 2001 byelection.

Quebec does not have fixed provincial election dates, but a government’s term is capped at five years, which would require Charest to call an election for no later than Dec. 8, 2013.

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