The UPA and OFA insist the Quebec-Ontario agricultural agreement be reproduced in the Agreement on Internal Trade



    LONGUEUIL, QC, Sept. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - The Union des producteurs
agricoles (UPA) and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) favourably
support the signing, in Toronto by the Quebec and Ontario premiers, of the
Quebec-Ontario Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
    "The agricultural provisions of the Agreement are largely based on a
joint proposal by Quebec and Ontario producers. As such, it addresses most of
our concerns regarding our respective marketing mechanisms and the protection
of Quebec and Ontario food composition and labelling standards" (translation),
stated the UPA's General President, Mr. Christian Lacasse.
    "The Agreement is also in keeping with our common position regarding
negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO),preserving the integrity of
supply management and maintaining a healthy trade environment on the
international scene" (translation), continued OFA president, Ms. Bette Jean
Crews.
    For the two organizations, the Quebec-Ontario Trade and Cooperation
Agreement convincingly illustrates the importance of consensus, consultation
and dialogue with the farming world for any economic agreement calling
directly on agriculture producers. Unfortunately, this approach was not
selected for the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), a pan-Canadian version of
the Quebec-Ontario Agreement.
    In fact, on August 8 2009, the provincial and territorial premiers
announced a new chapter on agriculture, without any consultation with the
industry and despite previous commitments in this regard. As such, Quebec and
Ontario farmers are greatly concerned, especially since the texts are still
not available over a month after this announcement and since the departmental
and governmental bodies remain vague on their content.
    According to the UPA president, "new versions of the agricultural
provisions in the AIT were effectively threatening all the measures promoting
collective and ordering marketing, supply management, labelling rules and food
composition standards. Following a significant mobilization and to the great
relief of provincial and Canadian farm organizations, these new provisions
were eventually dismissed. Last month's announcement greatly worries Quebec
and Ontario producers. This is a crucial issue not just for the industry, but
also for consumers, since many of the measures at issue focus on protecting
them and guaranteeing them accurate, complete information on the products they
buy".
    The Quebec and Ontario governments must ensure that any new version of
the AIT's agriculture provisions is aligned with the agricultural consensus on
which the Quebec-Ontario Trade and Cooperation Agreement is based. "This seems
particularly logical since Quebec and Ontario represent over 62% of the
Canadian population and roughly 55% of the GDP generated by Canada's entire
agriculture and agri-food sector," says Ms. Crews.".

    About the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)

    The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is the largest general farm
organization in the province representing over 37,000 farm families as well as
32 affiliates and organizational members representing most of the specialized
agricultural sectors. With 52 local and regional federations, the OFA is a
dynamic farmer-led organization actively working to represent and champion the
interests of Ontario farmers. OFA is a leader in results-based advocacy and is
Ontario's voice of agriculture.

    About the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA)

    The Union des producteurs agricoles is a membership organization of
professionals with a walk-in centre in each region of Quebec. Affiliated with
it are 155 basic unions grouped into 16 regional federations as well as 207
specialized unions belonging to 21 production sectors. The UPA's primary
mission is to promote, defend and develop the professional, economic, social
and moral interests of 43,000 agricultural producers and, through its
affiliation with the Fédération des producteurs de bois, 129,000 owners of
private forest.




For further information:

For further information: Patrice Juneau, Public Affairs Advisor, Union
des producteurs agricoles, (450) 679-0540, extension 8591, cell. (514)
702-8591; Neil Currie, General Manager, Ontario Federation of Agriculture,
(519) 821-8883; Source: Eliane Hamel, Communications Director, Union des
producteurs agricoles, (450) 679-0540, extension 8235

Organization Profile

Union des producteurs agricoles

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ONTARIO FEDERATION OF AGRICULTURE

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