Summer Tour |  Justin Trudeau stops at Gaspésie

Summer Tour | Justin Trudeau stops at Gaspésie

(New Richmond) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continued his political summer tour on Thursday with a trip to the Gaspé Peninsula, where he visited strawberry and rhubarb fields and visited two industrial plants.

Posted at 5:46 p.m

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Kevin Bissett The Canadian Press

Mr. Trudeau traveled to the Gaspé as part of his tour of other parts of Canada, which he began in July. A light rain fell while the Prime Minister was walking in a field growing strawberries and rhubarb at Ferme Boordages in Saint-Siméon. He then toured the farm’s retail market and winery.

The Premier was run by owners Pierre and Jean-François Boordages. He was also accompanied by Diane Lebouthillier, Secretary of State for National Revenue and MNA for the region.

Justin Trudeau’s previous visit to Gaspé dates back to July 2021, a month before the last general election was called.

And his visit on Thursday comes just weeks before an election campaign in Quebec where the future of French is sure to play an important role.

On Wednesday, new census data showed that Gaspésie is the only region in Quebec where the proportion of people who say they speak French as their first language has increased over the past five years.

Data from the latest census, released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday, shows the decline in French in Quebec and Canada continues.

From 2016 to 2021, the percentage of Quebecers speaking French at home increased from 79% to 77.5%.

Ms Lebouthillier said that this particularity regarding French in the Gaspésie region was likely an impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The more rural regions of Quebec have seen significant intra-provincial migration, with Quebecers attempting to leave the cities and settle in quieter parts of the province. According to her, more people have moved to the Gaspé – especially French speakers.

She said the region is also losing its young Anglophones to other parts of the country, such as Ontario, a population transfer that she says is increasing the proportion of Francophones in the region.

Mr. Trudeau spent the afternoon touring two industrial plants in New Richmond. His first stop was at the headquarters of Fabrication Delta, a company that makes wind turbine towers and other large steel structures. Mr. Trudeau and company owner Eli Arsenault stopped to speak to workers cutting and welding large pieces of heavy gauge steel.

Nearby, the Prime Minister visited Rail GD, a company that repairs and overhauls railcars. He observed the work on two VIA Rail wagons. He stopped at various workplaces and then posed for a group photo with workers.