Prince Edward Island Premier Pat Binns appealed to the citizens of Ontario not to buy U.S. potatoes. Binns, in Toronto while making the appeal, compared the catastrophe in the PEI province potato industry to that of Ontario losing its automotive industry.
At the same time Federal Rep. Wayne Easter of PEI said it was ironic that Pres. George Bush is in Quebec City on the Summit for Free Trade when his own country is not living up to its obligations under NAFTA.
Meanwhile, the Leader of the Opposition of the PEI government presented his colleagues in the Legislature a bag of California potatoes packed in a Canadian package for sale in a Canadian province-Nova Scotia.
He said Nova Scotia packers admitted to selling U.S. potatoes in Canadian packaging. The Opposition Leader says he has the bill of sale and the potatoes to prove it. The matter will be investigated.
On the evening of April 17, some 200 growers attended a town hall meeting sponsored by the CBC, on radio, television and Internet. One of the comments: "Canadian bureaucrats need to take a long hard look at how their country is being treated as a trading party with the United States."
(A lot of the blame for the border closure on the potato wart fungus threat is being blamed on senior Canadian bureaucrats. It is thought they have a poor understanding of the issue.)
The Federal representative told the audience that Anne Veneman, U.S. Ag Secretary, is again reviewing the entire potato wart file and will be getting back to the Canadian Ag Minister. The PEI Minister of Agriculture will try to get legislation for a three-year crop rotation on PEI to help lower potato production.