Canadians React With Disdain

Published online: Jan 02, 2001
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Even though the U.S. border is open to potatoes from Prince Edward Island, Canada, Canadian officials say it isn't enough and retaliation may be the only answer.

PEI Agriculture Minister Mitch Murphy said the conditions were too stringent and "unacceptable."

"American regulators are rejecting the findings of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and pursuing a political agenda," he said. "They're procrastinating as long as they can, trying to drag it out. They're also bowing to the pressure of the National Potato Council."

PEI's Federal Rep. Wayne Easter, says, "It's time for Canadian trade officials to retaliate against American potato growers. They've just appointed a new agriculture secretary who is from California. It's time to do a forensic study of the potato industry in California to see what skeletons are in the closet."

The conditions include:

  1. Banning the sale of PEI seed potatoes outside the province;
  2. Requiring the washing and treatment with sprout inhibitor for all shipments to the United States;
  3. Allowing only 50-pound packs and disallowing bulk shipments;
  4. Keeping the United States from having say in the movement of potatoes within Canada.

Canadian Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief seems to agree but trade officials are advising a softer approach.