The Deputy Premier and Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ), François Gendron, was on a mission to Rome and the Vatican from March 18 to 20 as Québec’s representative at the Holy Mass for the beginning of the Petrine Ministry of His Holiness Pope Francis.
Deputy Premier and Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, François Gendron, and the Québec Government Representative in Rome, Amalia Daniela Renosto, with part of St. Peter’s Basilica serving as a backdrop.
Over 130 official delegations, numerous heads of state and government and representatives of other Christian faiths, Jews and Muslims were in St. Peter’s Square for the mass celebrating the official beginning of Pope Francis’ pontificate. The Governor General of Canada, David Johnston, headed the official Canadian delegation.
Mr. Gendron’s attendance at the ceremony was a continuation of a long tradition of respect by Québec authorities for the Catholic Church and its institutions.
On the sidelines of the activities surrounding the enthronement of the new Pope, Mr. Gendron was able to greet the two Québec Cardinal Electors, His Eminence Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte and His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet. Cardinal Ouellet was considered by a number of observers as a favourite to succeed Pope Benedict XVI.
Food sovereignty policy
As Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mr. Gendron used the occasion to hold discussions with Jomo Sundaram, one of the directors of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), on Québec’s draft food sovereignty policy. Mr. Sundaram is Assistant Director-General of FAO’s Economic and Social Development Department.
FAO’s mandate is to raise nutrition levels, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy.
Minister Gendron will table a food sovereignty policy this coming spring. The policy will breathe new life into this key economic sector for Québec.