Québec solidaire - the thread

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pietro_bcc

Assuming there are Chinese from China scoping out Témiscamingue farmland just in case the federal law is changed and they are allowed to buy land how would that be predatory?

As far as I know there is no federal law banning the sale of agricultural land to foreign investors, there are provincial laws in certain Canadian provinces including Quebec which prevent sales to non residents. In fact there was a senate report on this very issue last year. https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/03/19/opinion/canadian-farmland-ri...

Pondering

pietro_bcc wrote:

Assuming there are Chinese from China scoping out Témiscamingue farmland just in case the federal law is changed and they are allowed to buy land how would that be predatory?

As far as I know there is no federal law banning the sale of agricultural land to foreign investors, there are provincial laws in certain Canadian provinces including Quebec which prevent sales to non residents. In fact there was a senate report on this very issue last year. https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/03/19/opinion/canadian-farmland-ri...

In the same interview she said there is a federal law against it and I took her word for it. If the law is provincial not federal it is still the law. Is there an active lobbying effort to change the law? 

swallow swallow's picture

It's not a made-up claim that Chinese investors have tried to buy up land in Temiskamingue. I think Lessard-Therrien has shown she's very much caught up in Canada's longstanding anti-Asian bias, as kropotkin says, but she did not make anything up and there is a concern of several years in her region that she is responding to. 

https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2016/01/27/des-chinois-lorgnent-des-te...

The company named, Mapleville, owns some 500 ha in the region. 

https://www.scribd.com/document/400279589/Portrait-de-l-accaparement-des...

In 2016, there was talk of this company buying up to 10,000 ha. 

http://ici.radio-canada.ca/emissions/bien_dans_son_assiette/2012-2013/ch...

The problem is not really Chinese investors, though: it is Quebec land-grabbers, led by Pangea. 

https://www.farmlandgrab.org/post/view/28521-les-terres-agricoles-font-s...

The real threat is increased concentration of agricultural land ownership by large companies - mostly Quebec-based, but including some foreign-owned, as in Temiscamangue. 

The UPA wants the government to limit to 100 hectares the amount of agricultural land that any one person or entity can purchase per year, at least for a three-year period. During this moratorium, the government could come up with a long-term solution to ensure Quebec’s farmlands remain productive, they suggest. The farmers also want a public register of agricultural land transactions, and tax disincentives to discourage farm owners from leaving farmlands fallow and just waiting for prices to go up in order to sell.

“The real estate and high finance sectors are not interested in agriculture,” UPA president Marcel Groleau said during last year’s election campaign. “These stakeholders seek profits in the rapid increase in the price of agricultural land, to which they contribute through speculation. For future generations and for our food security, it is urgent to act.”

The UPA wants the government to ban investment funds and real-estate companies from buying farmland.

To be fair, QS agriculture critic Lessard-Therrien raised the issue of local investment companies like Pangea being the main concern in her ill-fated interview before she went off on a tangent about China.

https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/quebec-farmlands-need-protec...

We need info sources and policies that pay attention to people living in the regions, and protect agricltural land so that it can remain in the hands of producers. This is the central point made by the UPA (ag producers association) and by the QS deputy who is trying to put this issue on the agenda. 

This is not an attempt to defend the epicly bad word choice by Mme Lessard-Therrien or the even shittier response by QS communications people. But it is factually incorrect to say that she's made up the fact that there are Chinese investors who have bought up land in the region and are interested in buying up more. She probably knows better than people in Montreal what is happening in her community, even if it's not in the pages of that noted rural mouthpiece, the Montreal Gazette. 

There are real threats to small farms and to the sustainability of the agricultural land base and food sovereignty. Quebec and Canada are not immune to the global phenomenon of land grabbing.

QS needs to watch itself on racist language and do better by the Chinese community and other racialized communities.

Emilie Lessard-Therrien is 100% right to raise the threats to agricultural lands. As she's said several times, that's the issues she wants to talk about. It would be great if that happened.  But apparently the English-language Montreal media would rather talk about her piss-poor choice of words. 

Non seulement la communauté chinoise a décrié la formule pour le moins maladroite, mais il s’avère que ce ne sont pas nécessairement les Chinois qui font de la spéculation avec les terres québécoises, mais bien… des compagnies d’investissement québécoises

La députée a souligné un vrai problème dont on devrait parler davantage. Juste pas besoin d’insulter le pays le plus populeux de la Terre.

https://urbania.ca/article/est-ce-que-quebec-solidaire-est-raciste/

swallow swallow's picture
Unionist

Thank you so much, swallow, for the well-researched and informative context on the protection of agricultural land. It's a shame an issue of that importance gets obscured because of a combination of inexperience and defensiveness (QS) and scandal-mongering media.

Meanwhile, here's an English-language account of the fight to protect public early-education child care against the CAQ's plan for kindergarten for all 4-year-olds:

Quebec daycare workers, opposition parties denounce CAQ plans for preschool classes

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Land speculation is a problem with all land across Canada and is especially the case in areas that have productive farm land. The problem is not where the capitalist investors are from. In BC the stats show that it is really hard to determine who owns what since numbered companies with offshore accounts is standard practice for oligarchs around the globe. The QS and other parties that believe in equality need to watch that they don't fall into Canada's historic blame the Asians mentality. Many progressive people in BC struggle with our ingrained anti-Asian bias as well. Lets not forget that we have had a more than hundred year old tradition of anti-Asian bias in our media.

Unionist

Krop - of all the problems in Québec, anti-Asian prejudice isn't even remotely on the radar. The media here took this comment by an inexperienced MNA and ran with it. And my hypothesis is that QS was so offended at being painted as racist by media which are often genuinely racist, that they couldn't even think their way through the issue, respect the feelings that they may have inadvertently hurt, and made a genuine explanation and retraction. It certainly doesn't excuse them. I've been trying through my limited channels to get them to do the right thing - but I keep getting back responses saying that "don't you understand this has nothing to do with Chinese, we're after Pangea", etc. Ultra-defensive.

We have problems here. Police racially profiling Black people. Ultra-right types trying to stoke fear of Islam for their own ends. Confusion of secularism with xenophobia. But anti-Asian prejudice or blaming? Never seen it. Geez I hope I'm right about this.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Unionist wrote:

We have problems here. Police racially profiling Black people. Ultra-right types trying to stoke fear of Islam for their own ends. Confusion of secularism with xenophobia. But anti-Asian prejudice or blaming? Never seen it. Geez I hope I'm right about this.

Canada is a nation of regions and our racism varies from region to region. BC was instrumental in getting all the anti-Asian laws passed however that attitude I believe is an undercurrent across the nation like anti-indigenous racism is. No region has a monopoly on racism nor is any without.  Chinese investors is MSM's scapegoats for capitalist pigs and its really hard not to fall into the mainstream narrative especially when it is not a prevalent trend in your region. In BC we still have lots of anti-Chinese racists who get plenty of air time from local news media. What we don't get is any kind of talk about Singh's turban.  But in BC the turban debate happened over thirty years ago and changed the conversation. The racists in BC weren't bothered by the turban because they were secularists they just didn't like people because of their ethnicity.  If we keep dialoguing the conversation can improve. Overt racism is stoked when people fall into cultural stereotypes. I trust this QS MNA is capable of learning and I never thought anything she said sounded racist.

lagatta4

There is nothing like that in Québec, though we will remember thoughtlessness in pushing major roads through the small Chinese community in Québec city - in the 1960s, I believe, and also both Federal and Québec government ministries expropriating Chinese businesses and residences (there may have been some other Asians in the area by then, such as Vietnamese refugees) to build government buildings just north of Old Mtl). Yes, there is a long history of sidelining Asian people even in regions (and nations) where it was not the prevailing racism.

Pondering

swallow wrote:

This is not an attempt to defend the epicly bad word choice by Mme Lessard-Therrien or the even shittier response by QS communications people. But it is factually incorrect to say that she's made up the fact that there are Chinese investors who have bought up land in the region and are interested in buying up more.

Emilie Lessard-Therrien is 100% right to raise the threats to agricultural lands. As she's said several times, that's the issues she wants to talk about. It would be great if that happened.  But apparently the English-language Montreal media would rather talk about her piss-poor choice of words. 

All along my sole objection has been the refusal to acknowledge, apologize and clarify. 

You said:

The real threat is increased concentration of agricultural land ownership by large companies - mostly Quebec-based, but including some foreign-owned, as in Temiscamangue. 

Then there was no reason to bring the Chinese into it. Nor did she say she knew of specific investment attempts. She said she "sensed" them. That is beyond a poor choice of words. 

By not apologizing and correcting the story became about the comments not about agricultural land being corporate controlled. 

My entire point has been that QS managed this badly and needs to learn from it not that QS is racist. It became about integrity to me, not about racism. 

It was a strategic error to deny and refuse to apologize. That became the story not because the Gazette made it so but because QS made it the story by defending the comment. Has QS apologized yet? 

 

voice of the damned

Unionist wrote:

And my hypothesis is that QS was so offended at being painted as racist by media which are often genuinely racist, that they couldn't even think their way through the issue, respect the feelings that they may have inadvertently hurt, and made a genuine explanation and retraction.

If being subjected to hypocritical attacks renders QS so emotionally distraught that they are unable to think coherently about the issue in question, they should find another line of work besides politics. Seriously.

swallow swallow's picture

So, I think maybe we actually all agree now. 

Meanwhile, Anti-Muslim racism is getting pretty brutal in Quebec, aided by the Quebecor media empire. 

https://www.canadalandshow.com/quebec-media-contribute-to-climate-of-hat...

swallow swallow's picture

There's still a very high chance of Quebec becoming independent, says Manon Massé. The strong QS vote of youth, she implies, shows that young people support the QS stand for sovereignty. And in fact, she says, only an independent Quebec can stop climate change (« L'indépendance du Québec est nécessaire pour être capable de réaliser la réelle lutte aux changements climatiques », a indiqué Mme Massé.) 

Honestly, what the actual is going on with this team of leaders (yes they are supposed to be spoksepeople, but they seem to act more and more like leaders - I highly doubt that the majority of QS supporters agree that the struggle against climate change is only possible with an independent Quebec).  

https://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/politique/politique-quebecoise/201903...

Unionist

swallow wrote:

« L'indépendance du Québec est nécessaire pour être capable de réaliser la réelle lutte aux changements climatiques », a indiqué Mme Massé.

Fer crissakes. What is her problem? I've reached out to ask: 1) Was she accurately quoted, and in context? 2) If yes, where does she get this stuff?

There are days when I miss Françoise David and Amir Khadir. Today is one of those days.

 

lagatta4

Yes, that doesn't even make sense, as it is a global problem.

Unionist

Well, I got an answer back. Starts with this para from the QS Declaration of Principles:

Quote:

Le Québec doit disposer de tous les pouvoirs nécessaires à son plein développement aux plans social, économique, culturel et politique, ce qui lui est refusé dans le cadre fédéral. Notre parti opte donc pour la souveraineté. Sans être une garantie, la souveraineté est un moyen de fournir au Québec les outils nécessaires pour réaliser son projet de société et s’épanouir pleinement comme peuple.

Then examples: A non-sovereign Québec couldn't block a project like Enbridge, or refuse to pay subsidies to gas companies (i.e. the ones that come from our federal taxes), etc. 

Good answers. All true. But I'm not convinced, for the reason lagatta gave above. Nor do I understand why QS would push this now. Are we trying to encourage more defections from the PQ, by showing how much more independentist we are? Where is this coming from?

Please, please, don't go down the wrong road. The PQ has shown historically how slippery that slope can be.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Unionist wrote:

Well, I got an answer back. Starts with this para from the QS Declaration of Principles:

Quote:

Le Québec doit disposer de tous les pouvoirs nécessaires à son plein développement aux plans social, économique, culturel et politique, ce qui lui est refusé dans le cadre fédéral. Notre parti opte donc pour la souveraineté. Sans être une garantie, la souveraineté est un moyen de fournir au Québec les outils nécessaires pour réaliser son projet de société et s’épanouir pleinement comme peuple.

Then examples: A non-sovereign Québec couldn't block a project like Enbridge, or refuse to pay subsidies to gas companies (i.e. the ones that come from our federal taxes), etc. 

Good answers. All true. But I'm not convinced, for the reason lagatta gave above. Nor do I understand why QS would push this now. Are we trying to encourage more defections from the PQ, by showing how much more independentist we are? Where is this coming from?

Please, please, don't go down the wrong road. The PQ has shown historically how slippery that slope can be.

Agreed.  Were I to speculate, it might be that-and by "they", I mean whoever does most of their strategic and tactical thinking-                                                                                                                                                           

-They may think they can wipe out the PQ, but ONLY if they don't back off on an immediate push for sovereigntism, that any deviation from a "sovereigntism first"position lets the PQ stay in the game;                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

-They may believe they can't expand their support among those who identify as federalist or as neutralist on the constitutional question; 

-At some intellectual/ideological level, it may be that they can't separate their socialist/anti-oppression/anti-imperialist orientation from sovereigntism, that they feel that letting sovereigntism go, or at least putting it on the back burner, is in some way a form of surrender or of abandonment of their core values.

It would be interesting to see how this plays out with QS if-assuming the CAQ doesn't pass an electoral reform bill-they were to win a majority government with the same 41% the PQ took winning a majority in '76(assuming, in that scenario, that the PQ vote totally collapsed, as it would need to for QS to pull that kind of a vote).  They would have to look at those numbers and assume that a "Oui" vote would have great difficulty in prevailing at best, and they would have to decide which mattered more:  putting a referendum on the ballot that would likely go down to a landslide defeat, OR passing their economic and social justice agenda through the National Assembly.

 

swallow swallow's picture

I assume the goal is to be ever so clever tactically and replace the PQ. I could attempt a lengthy analysis, but frankly I don’t care why they are pursuing this line. It is fucked up, opportunistic nonsense. 

lagatta4

Well concretely, the main action of QS right now is supporting and attending the climate strike actions. Anyone in Montréal who is free to go today - its at 12 h 45  Au sud du Monument George-Étienne Cartier du Parc du Mont-Royal That is the monument with the angel (and the tam-tams). Fortunately, I'm usually free Friday afternoons as no client will want a rush job... Think Gabriel and Manon will attend here; don't know about other QS MNAs - or former MNAs. 

Unionist

I'm out of town, dammit, can't make any of the demos today. Hold high the banner, lagatta! Climb it!

Meanwhile, here is the picture of political donations since Jan. 1, compiled from the official website. We're in first place! Wonder how long we can hang on to that?

NOTE: Keep in mind that all the above are individual contributions, each no more than $100 (in an election year, you can donate up to $200). And also, union and corporate donations have been banned here for decades.

swallow swallow's picture

I'll be at the Sherbrooke event. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i posted something re que in the student led thread. here is the part qs played in the demos. pics and video.

  Québec solidaire

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