June 23rd, 2024

Prime Minister tells Quebec farmers government working on targeted inflation aid

By Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press on February 22, 2023.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a meeting with Quebec agricultural producers in Longueuil, Que., Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

LONGUEUIL, Que. – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is looking at how it can provide targeted aid to farmers who are struggling with inflation.

Trudeau, who made the comments at a meeting with farmers at the headquarters of Quebec’s farmer’s association, the L’Union des producteurs agricoles, in Longueuil, says he wants to ensure that any aid for farmers doesn’t make inflation worse.

He says that while inflation has started to slow, the government wants to ensure farmers and others who are struggling can hold on for the next six months to a year.

Daniel Lebelle, a dairy and grain farmer from the Centre-du-Québec region, told the prime minister that his costs have risen 40 per cent since inflation began to rise.

Yves Laurencelle, a cattle and blueberry farmer, told Trudeau that while it’s fine if assistance is targeted, farmers can’t afford to wait.

He says it’s not just a business issue, it’s also emotional because when a farm goes bankrupt, farmers often lose the land worked by their parents and grandparents.

“It’s not a question of six months to a year, it’s two months,” Laurencelle said Wednesday.

“Family farms, it’s a matter of the heart, go bankrupt tomorrow morning and lose your grandparents’, your parents’ business, I don’t know how I would react if that happened to me, because I would have the feeling of betraying my family, of having not succeeded.

“It’s not the fault of the people who are working, it’s the crisis we’re going through, but I’m telling you, Mr. Trudeau, there has to be aid quickly.”

While Trudeau told the farmers the government would support them, he offered no details about how it would help.

“For me, the big priority is to ensure that the way we are going to be able to help you does not fuel a new inflation crisis, but will help you to hold on so that we can get through these difficult months,” Trudeau said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2023.

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