Sunday, August 25, 2013

Parti Québécois to table ‘Quebec Charter of Value Meals’

Parti Québécois to table ‘Quebec Charter of Value Meals’
August 25, 2013

Minister Drainville worried about how much
space some foods take on Quebec menus.
(Photo: The Gazette)
QUEBEC CITY—The minority government of Premier Pauline Marois wants to prohibit public employees from eating items such as shish taouk, butter chicken, and some types of pizza as part of a value meal--sometimes called combos, or trios--in a broad ban that could extend from elementary and university teachers to nurses and child-care workers.

The minister responsible for the Quebec Charter of Value Meals, Bernard Drainville, says that in the battle to safeguard French-Quebec culture, previous governments have underestimated the role of reasonably-priced fast food on the minds of the nation.

The PQ is expected to table new rules in the fall, following the passage of the previously announced Quebec Charter of Values.

“It will not only provide clear rules and a framework for which foods public-sector employees are allowed to buy, it will also affirm a number of foods that a vast majority of Quebecers enjoy such as cheese, tourtière, and pouding chômeur,” Drainville said. “I am confident we can have this debate in a respectful manner, in a serene manner.”

Yet just last week, Drainville was among those who sparked a debate on value meals when he opposed a decision by Tim Horton’s to introduce smoked meat at their concessions inside Quebec government institutions. Drainville argued against giving minority foods privileges denied to other foods, like poutine, not on the menu.

Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard questioned the need to revisit the issue of value meals.

“If the aim explicitly or not is to divide Quebecers again I am not in agreement at all,” Couillard said. “This issue about adding smoked meat to a menu is for the bellies of  Quebecers to decide.”

But Drainville argues the government has a responsibility to ensure the primacy of Quebec foods.

“As a society, we cannot allow our native dishes to be overtaken by those from other parts of the world,” Drainville said. “I have nothing against smoked meat. Indeed, some of my best friends eat smoked meat. I am only concerned by how much space these foods take on our menus.”

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