The president of the Quebec Chamber of Commerce is positive about the future and wants to retain the know-how of Medicago employees in the capital and is “reassured” by the government’s willingness to act.
• Also read: Biopharma: the end for Medicago in Canada
Quebec Chamber of Commerce (CCIQ) President and CEO Steeve Lavoie offered a thought for employees and their families on Friday following the announcement of Medicago’s closure. “With the cold weather this morning, it’s nothing to warm your heart,” he laments.
But after the shock of losing this flagship, he insisted: “We were reassured this morning. We heard from Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon who is open to investment projects. We really feel that the government seems to be taking over the file. He’s already at work. I had the opportunity to speak to the minister yesterday [fédéral] Health, Jean-Yves Duclos. They are already being discussed, federal and state governments together. We believe there really is a political will to keep this expertise and these skilled people in Quebec. Its relaxing.”
We must continue to invest in the area, he pleads. Medicago experienced “extraordinary circumstances.” “It doesn’t represent the effervescence that there is in the life sciences sector in Quebec.”
In addition, the regional economy continues to do well, says Mr. Lavoie. In a recent Léger survey commissioned by the CCIQ, 60% of companies say they are growing, compared to 30% stability and only 4% decline despite inflation, he points out. “Things are going very well in Quebec, things are moving. There is a lot of growth and investment. What happened with Medicago needs to be treated as an isolated case. And we see the response from governments, we see support immediately. If there are buyers, they are willing to go with them because they believe in this life sciences sector.”
Additionally, he says, this blow is another argument in favor of Quebec’s eastern sector being officially recognized by the provincial government as an innovation zone, a name Québec City has desired for years. “For us, this shows even more how important it is for the government to continue to position itself in relation to this area of innovation, which stands for sustainable, preventive health and the desire to preserve all of the science of life that we have in Quebec .”
“An isolated case,” says Lehouillier
The Mayor of Lévis, Gilles Lehouillier, agrees with the President of the CCIQ. He reminded that Quebec and Lévis are part of a vast economic zone and that we must “mobilize together”.
He regrets this “great loss for our entire region” because it affects “value-added jobs and all high technology”. “We think this is an isolated case because here in the region, whether in Quebec or Lévis, we have economic living environments that are very dynamic and very efficient. Our economy is strong.”
– With the collaboration of Taïeb Moalla