UPA not happy with new pes­ti­cide mea­sures

Stanstead Journal - - FROM PAGE ONE - Vic­to­ria Vanier

“The Agri­cul­tural pro­duc­ers of Que­bec share the en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns of their fel­low cit­i­zens on the ques­tion of pes­ti­cides. Un­for­tu­nately, the mea­sures an­nounced to­day for the farm sec­tor are de­cep­tive and in­com­plete. The mea­sures only in­crease the ad­min­is­tra­tive re­quire­ments as­so­ci­ated with pes­ti­cide use when farm­ers are al­ready lit­er­ally buried in pa­per­work. The Min­is­ter has opted for bu­reau­cratic so­lu­tions that are dis­con­nected from the re­al­ity on the ground,” said the pres­i­dent of the Union des Pro­duc­teurs Agri­cole (UPA), Mar­cel Groleau, in re­ac­tion to the new Que­bec Strat­egy on pes­ti­cides 2015 – 2018, an­nounced on Sun­day by the Min­is­ter of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment and the en­vi­ron­ment, David Heur­tel.

The new ori­en­ta­tions aim to sur­vey even more the use of pes­ti­cides, in­clud­ing re­duc­ing the use of riskier prod­ucts, get­ting oblig­a­tory ap­proval use from agron­o­mists, and car­ry­ing out more pre­ven­tive mea­sures.

“To go fur­ther in the fight against pests, there must be in­vest­ment in re­search, train­ing, knowl­edge trans­fer, ac­compa- ni­ment and, pri­mar­ily, de­tec­tion tools,” con­tin­ued Mr. Groleau, adding that MAPAQ has al­lo­cated only $3.2 mil­lion a year for all of the mea­sures re­lated to the proper use of pes­ti­cides.

“To fi­nance re­search and train­ing, the Min­is­ter rec­om­mends wait­ing for the fees and the penal­ties im­posed on pro­duc­ers who break the rules. In­stead of ac­com­pa­ny­ing them to­wards best prac­tices, they will be pe­nal­ized for not com­plet­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive mea­sures. It’s not what I would call a step in the right di­rec­tion,” said the pres­i­dent of the UPA. “In this sense, the small­est agri­cul­tural en­ter­prises will be the tar­get of choice be­cause they don’t have the time or the means to deal with the ever con­strain­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive re­quire­ments. It is not nor­mal for farm­ers to spend more time in their of­fices than in their fields. Agron­o­mists and en­vi­ron­men­tal groups must be aware of this sit­u­a­tion that they know well.”

Pes­ti­cides are very ex­pen­sive and pro­duc­ers are in­ter­ested in re­duc­ing their use. Que­bec, when it comes to pes­ti­cide use, al­ready

has the strictest rules in Canada: oblig­a­tory train­ing for pro­duc­ers, man­age­ment and stor­age rules, and dis­tri­bu­tion laws. The aim of pes­ti­cides is to con­trol weeds and pro­tect crops from in­sects and dis­ease.

to Mr. Groleau: “We live in mar­kets that are more and more open. Our in­ter­na­tional com­peti­tors, mostly Amer­i­can, who do not have such strict reg­u­la­tions, have an ad­van­tage over us. The gov­ern­ments of Que­bec and Canada do not im­pose those reg­u­la­tions and norms on im­ported food. Are we do­ing ev­ery­thing to con­sume, in the end, more im­ported prod­ucts?”

TheHaskell Free Li­brary will be host­ing a sec­ond ex­hibit of the work of Stanstead pho­tog­ra­pher Sharon Levin in its Read­ing Room through­out the month of De­cem­ber. The ex­hibit will fea­ture a col­lec­tion of pho­to­graphs of hol­i­day light dec­o­ra­tions on homes in the Beebe sec­tor of Stanstead.

“I just love the color of the lights at this time of year when it gets so cold and dark; I don’t think I could live with­out them!” said the pho­tog­ra­pher in an in­ter­view with the Stanstead Jour­nal. Be­sides the chal­lenge of keep­ing your hands and your cam­era warm dur­ing the process, pho­tograph­ing Christ­mas lights is, ac­cord­ing to Sharon, “a per­fect task for a cam­era.” One trick is to take the pho­tos in the early evening light, be­fore dark­ness sets in. “It made it so much fun to see all the dif­fer­ences be­tween the houses,” she added.

The ex­hibit can be vis­ited at the Haskell Li­brary dur­ing the Li­brary’s open­ing hours from De­cem­ber 1st to the end of De­cem­ber.

Hol­i­day light dec­o­ra­tion styles can be as var­ied as the houses that they grace as you will dis­cover in the up­com­ing pho­to­graph ex­hibit at the Haskell Li­brary.

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