Bloc Québécois calls on Ottawa to help Quebec’s beekeepers

MP Yves Perron, vice-chair of the standing committee on agriculture, says no producer can survive losses to hives estimated at 60 per cent.

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The Bloc Québécois has added its voice to those calling for emergency financial aid for Quebec’s beekeepers after it was announced this week their hives had suffered a 60 per cent mortality rate.

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Bloc agriculture critic Yves Perron tabled a motion asking the federal government’s standing committee on agriculture — on which he sits as a vice-chair — to undertake a study on the causes leading to the high death rate, and to seek solutions.

Perron, the MP for Berthier–Maskinongé, said no producer can survive such losses, and he urged Ottawa to act quickly.

The Apiculteurs et des apicultrices du Québec (AADQ) announced this week that the summer of 2021 saw conditions favourable to the spread of varroa, a parasite that attacks bees.

AADQ president Raphaël Vacher said the presence of varroa in Quebec hives was two to four times greater than usual.

Vacher said methods in Canada of controlling the presence of the parasite are insufficient, and those used in Europe are not accessible in this country.

The AADQ is seeking $12 million in emergency aid from Ottawa and Quebec.

The AADQ says the high death rate of the bees, which pollinate farmers’ fields, will have a negative impact on the production of blueberries, cranberries and potatoes.

Perron said bees play a key role in the environment, agriculture and food supply of Canada and it is the duty of authorities to protect them.

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