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Boisclair talks hogs in charm offensive

by 5m Editor
5 March 2007, at 6:30pm

CANADA - Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair yesterday defended a moratorium on new pig farms he imposed in 2002 while he was environment minister as a good thing because it helped the industry clean up its act.

In a carefully staged charm offensive designed to shore up his shaky image with farmers, Boisclair steered his election campaign into snowbound rural Quebec to talk about the PQ's agricultural platform.

The first stop was for breakfast at a farm owned by Clement Pouliot, who happened to be president of the Federation des producteurs de porc du Quebec when the moratorium was set.

Boisclair, who ditched his suit and ties for his meander into the Action democratique du Quebec-friendly countryside, donned white overalls for the tour of a germ-sensitive nursery housing 150 sows, becoming the first of the three major party leaders to be seen in unusual apparel.

He scrupulously avoided donning the hood of the white suit to avoid a repeat of the incident in a federal election campaign when Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe was photographed wearing a hairnet at a cheese factory.

Boisclair later confirmed Pouliot is a member of the PQ. The current president of the federation is Claude Corbeil - who is running for the Liberals in the riding of St. Hyacinthe.

Chatting informally with reporters outside his barn about 40 kilometres southeast of Quebec City, Pouliot defended Boisclair and the moratorium, even though producers subsequently said it cost their industry $400,000 to $500,000 a year in lost revenues. The Liberal government lifted the ban in 2005.

Source: The Gazette

5m Editor