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Le ministre de l’Agriculture critique les « ayatollahs » du ministère de l’Environnement

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L’équipe du ministre de l’Agriculture lui avait suggéré de prendre une fin de semaine de repos, après une dizaine de jours difficiles à tenter de gérer la controverse causée par le congédiement d’un fonctionnaire lanceur d’alerte.

Mais André Lamontagne a tenu à prendre la parole, samedi, devant un parterre de petits producteurs membres de l’Union paysanne, réunis à Québec. Le discours était filmé par le média spécialisé La Vie Agricole.

Le ministre a pris un « engagement » : réduire les « embûches » auxquelles font face les petits agriculteurs.

Il affirme avoir déjà lancé « un grand chantier » pour revoir la loi et la réglementation sur les produits alimentaires et la transformation.

Il y a un gros tampon pour s’assurer qu’il n’y aura pas de problèmes de santé publique et de salubrité. (…) Mais moi, la question que j’ai posée, c’est : Est-ce qu’on peut réduire ce tampon-là? (…) À un moment donné, est-ce qu’on n’a pas viré fou? N’est-ce pas trop?

André Lamontagne, ministre de l’Agriculture, au congrès de l’Union paysanne, le 8 février 2019

Benoit Charette et les « ayatollahs » du ministère de l’Environnement

Le ministre de l’Agriculture a poursuivi son discours en expliquant que la loi environnementale ne convient pas aux petits agriculteurs et qu’il veut leur faciliter la vie. André Lamontagne a raconté en avoir fait part à son collègue ministre de l’Environnement, Benoit Charette.

« Les premières choses que j’ai faites, c’est de lui dire : Benoit, chez vous, qui s’occupe de l’agriculture? Quelle compréhension il a de l’agriculture? Il va falloir qu’on s’assoit, qu’on trouve un moyen de sensibiliser les gens chez vous – et je peux vous dire que là-dedans, il y a quelques ayatollahs, on s’entend là-dessus – pour voir comment on peut accommoder. »

Les ayatollahs sont les principaux chefs religieux de l’islam chiite, mais le terme est aussi utilisé pour désigner, selon le dictionnaire Larousse, des personnes aux idées rétrogrades qui usent de manière arbitraire et tyrannique des pouvoirs étendus dont elles disposent.

Des propos qui inquiètent

« On espère que le ministre Lamontagne ne souhaite pas assouplir davantage les mesures liées à l’utilisation de pesticides quand il dénonce certains “ayatollahs” du ministère de l’Environnement », a réagi Thibault Rehn, coordinateur de Vigilance OGM.

« Pour moi, c’est inquiétant, parce que ça trahit un préjugé », a affirmé Karel Mayrand, directeur général pour le Québec de la Fondation David Suzuki.

De voir ce ministre se faire le lobbyiste de l’industrie auprès du ministre de l’Environnement, ce n’est pas très approprié.

Karel Mayrand, directeur général pour le Québec de la Fondation David Suzuki

Karel Mayrand rappelle que le ministre Lamontagne a été accusé, pas plus tard que la semaine dernière, de céder aux lobbys en approuvant la congédiement d’un lanceur d’alerte qui dénonçait l’influence des producteurs et des compagnies de pesticides dans la recherche scientifique en agriculture.

« J’y vois une approche conservatrice, a dit M. Mayrand. Le ministre voit de la rigidité réglementaire, donc il veut enlever de la réglementation. »

Avant de faire la leçon à d’autres ministères, il devrait s’assurer que son ministère fait son travail comme il faut.

Karel Mayrand

« La défense de l’environnement, ce n’est pas seulement la job du ministre de l’Environnement, a tenu à dire Karel Mayrand. C’est la responsabilité de tout le gouvernement. »

La Fondation David Suzuki reconnaît toutefois que des modifications pourraient être faites pour adapter la législation à la réalité des petits producteurs qui ne font pas de monoculture, mais il faut être prudent a précisé Karel Mayrand. Si la réglementation est rouverte, il craint que les grands lobbies en profitent pour se faire valoir.

L’Union paysanne demande depuis plusieurs année que la loi soit modifiée pour mettre fin au monopole syndical de l’Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) et permettre le pluralisme d’association. Actuellement, tous les agriculteurs doivent payer une cotisation à l’UPA.

André Lamontagne a été le premier ministre de l’Agriculture à participer au congrès de l’Union paysanne.

Durant son discours, le ministre a refusé d’aborder le congédiement de l’agronome Louis Robert. Il a mentionné : « Je n’ai pas de langue de bois, ça m’a coûté cher la semaine passée. »

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Ottawa sets monthly record for total COVID-19 cases with 99 new cases on Friday

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Sixteen days into October, Ottawa has already set the record for most cases of COVID-19 in a single month.

Ottawa Public Health reported 99 new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa today, and three more deaths linked to novel coronavirus.

Ontario’s Ministry of Health had reported 108 new cases of COVID-19, but there is sometimes a lag in COVID-19 case reporting between Ontario and Ottawa Public Health. On Wednesday, Ontario reported 39 new cases in Ottawa, while Ottawa Public Health reported 45 new cases.

There have been 1,511 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa in October, surpassing the September record of 1,413 new cases.

Since the first case of COVID-19 on March 11, there have been 5,908 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, including 301 deaths.

Across Ontario, there are 712 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. Health Minister Christine Elliott reported 213 new cases in Toronto, 135 in Peel Region and 62 in York Region.

HOSPITALIZATIONS IN OTTAWA

One more person was admitted to an Ottawa hospital with COVID-19 related illnesses on Friday.

Ottawa Public Health reports 47 people are currently in hospital with COVID-19, including eight in the intensive care unit.

ACTIVE CASES OF COVID-19 IN OTTAWA

The number of active cases of COVID-19 increased on Friday.

There are 792 active cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, up from 777 active cases on Thursday.

A total of 4,806 people have recovered after testing positive for COVID-19.

The number of active cases is the number of total laboratory-confirmed cases minus the numbers of resolved cases and deaths. A case is considered resolved 14 days after known symptom onset or positive test result.

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Ottawa mayor rejects possible return of Ottawa-Gatineau border checkpoints, ‘I really don’t think they work’

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Mayor Jim Watson does not want to see police checkpoints return to the five interprovincial crossings between Ottawa and Gatineau, saying “I really don’t think they work.”

Earlier this week, Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin told the Ottawa Citizen that police checkpoints could return to the Ottawa-Gatineau border at “any time,” with the final decision in the hands of the Quebec Government. Earlier this month, Dr. Brigitte Pinard of the Centre Integre de sante et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais said border checkpoints were “possible,” adding “right now, our message is to limit large gatherings.”

When asked by CTV Morning Live host Leslie Roberts about the possibility of police checkpoints returning to the Ontario-Quebec border, Watson said he did not think they worked back in the spring.

“There were so many gaps when the police were not there, and people just figured out I’ll go at an earlier time or a later time. We saw police officers sticking their heads in the car with no masks, so that was not healthy for those individuals,” said Watson Friday morning.

“It’s a costly expense when our police are stretched already to the limit trying to do the work, to have them set up at five different bridge points potentially 24 hours a day would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars every month and I think the money is better spent.”

On April 1, Gatineau Police and the Surete du Quebec set up checkpoints along the Ottawa-Gatineau border to limit non-essential trips into Gatineau. Gatineau Police estimated the random police checkpoints between April 1 and May 17 cost the service more than $400,000.

Mayor Watson tells CTV Morning Live that the Quebec Government’s decision to move Gatineau into the “red zone” two days after Ontario moved Ottawa to a modified Stage 2 should help.

“We are a close relationship and when things happen in Gatineau there’s often a trickle effect over here and I think the fact that we’re both in the red zone, and Quebec of course is the worst hit province, at least levels the playing field for our restaurants and bars,” said Watson.

“I think in the past what had happened was our restaurants and bars would close and then the ones in Gatineau would stay open, and then people from Ottawa would go over there irresponsibly, in my opinion, and then come back potentially with the virus and spread it here.”

While border checkpoints would limit the non-essential travel across the Ottawa-Gatineau border, Watson says that’s not the way to beat COVID-19.

“The message is very clear, stick to your household. This is not the time to have an AirBNB party or a keg party in your backyard, or have 20 people or 30 people in for an engagement party. I know a lot of these get-togethers are important socially for people and emotionally, but we have to ask people to be reasonable and responsible, and this is not the year to do those kinds of things.”

Roberts asked the mayor if he would have a conversation about border checkpoints with Gatineau’s mayor.

“I had it the first go-around, but at the end of the day I also respect their jurisdiction and their autonomy. It is the province that would have to impose that, not the municipality,” said Watson.

“From our perspective, we don’t think it’s an effective use of resources. We want to continue to get the message across that we can win this battle against COVID-19 if we socially distance, we wear a mask, we actually follow the simple rules that are put forward.”

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Ottawa woman breaks 14-day quarantine rule to work at long-term care home: police

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OTTAWA — A 53-year-old Ottawa woman is facing charges under the federal Quarantine Act after Ottawa police say she failed to self-isolate for 14 days after travelling abroad and returned to work at a long-term care home.

Ottawa Police say information was received indicating that an Ottawa woman had travelled abroad. She returned to Canada on Sept. 26, so she was required under federal law to quarantine for 14 days, until Oct. 9

“The woman decided not to respect this order and went to work on Sept. 30 at a long-term health facility in Ottawa,” police said in a news release. “When management was apprised of the situation, she was immediately sent home. The facility immediately activated mitigating self-isolation and cleaning protocols and informed all persons that had been in contact with the subject.”

Police say none of the residents of the long-term care facility have tested positive for COVID-19 as a result of the woman attending work.

Ottawa police say this is the first person they have charged under the Quarantine Act during the pandemic.

The woman is charged with failing to comply with entry condition under section 58 of the Quarantine Act and cause risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm under section 67 of the Quarantine Act.

The maximum penalty for causing risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm is a $1 million fine and three years in prison. For failing to self-isolate for 14 days, she faces a $750,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Police did not release the name of the woman, nor where she worked. The woman is due in court on Nov. 24.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson’s office issued a statement following the announcement of the charges.

“Mayor Watson was disturbed to learn about the alleged carelessness of the individual in question. This type of reckless behaviour could have harmed their colleagues, and more importantly, the residents of the long term care home. We must all do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

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