Cal Growers Could See Backlash

Published online: Feb 06, 2001
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California potato growers could be the first to feel the backlash of the U.S./Canada potato wart issue when they ship their spring crop north in a few weeks.

Wayne Easter, a Prince Edward Island representative in Ottawa, said, "The U.S. is not acting in good faith by not recognizing that what problem exists has been dealt with. Americans have put at risk the whole reporting system.

"(They are) breaking the law in my view. Will people have confidence to report in the future? One of the reasons you report is that you expect to be treated in good faith. The whole international reporting system could fall apart."

Easter went on to mention that the California crop would be coming into Canada shortly and he suggests that Canada make sure all the i's are dotted and the t's crossed. He said all trucks should be stopped for inspections; potatoes washed properly; paperwork taken care of properly; and checks made of their warehouses.

"(We should) hold them up. (We should) show some of their own measures back to them."

PEI officials now estimate the potato wart crisis has caused a provincial deficit of about $10 million. The Minister of Finance has called for a 2-percent budget cut to cope.