Buy Québec – Unless you can buy American for less

Buy Québec – Unless you can buy American for less

In December of last year Quebec’s Minister of Agriculture, Francois Gendron, vowed he would promote and encourage Quebec Agricultural products stating that most institutions in Québec should buy, use and consume Québec grown food products. The truth of the matter is however that 80% of all hospitals, old age homes and basically most health centres, buy their produce from two American companies, one based in Texas and the other in Michigan and it’s all legal according to the Government criteria which has been in place for years.

The Quebec Food Distributors Association under the leadership of M. Marc Fortin is very upset about the situation and is going to fight the Government on the matter in the coming months. The group, which represents 90% of all Quebec food distribution companies, have lots of ammo stating situations like a producer in Granby who lost a $20 million dollar contract for a difference of $48,000 over five years, involving the Sherbrooke Hospital system, or a local distributor in Mauricie who lost a $30 million contract over five years to GFS of Michigan for what M. Fortin refers to as “peanuts”.

The two American Companies, GFS and Sysco both have warehouses in the province, which according to the legal description make it allowable for them to bid on Provincial Government contracts, and because they can afford to offer a lower bid, they always win the tenders put out by the Government since the province has to accept the lowest bidder. The companies in question import most of their produce directly from the US and buy very little homegrown products.

Mr. Fortin says the situation is causing havoc in the agricultural sector, costing jobs, profit loss and less choice for consumers and adds that if Quebec wants to promote its “Buy Québec” policy, they’re not going about it the right way.

A new contract has just been signed for the health institutions across the province and the big winner once again is GFS of Michigan who will be serving you their American grown food at your favorite Hospital or Health services outlets for at least the next five years. “Bon Appetit”.
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LifeinQuebec.com Staff Writer

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