Statement by Premier Dennis King regarding the export of potatoes
Hon. Dennis King, Premier of Prince Edward Island issued the following statement:
“While we have trouble accepting the decision that was made on Monday to limit the export of potatoes to the US, our focus has now shifted to finding a resolution to this situation as soon as possible.
I have spoken with dozens of industry officials, political leaders, as well as potato producers and family farmers over the last 48 hours and will continue to do so in the days ahead. I have expressed to each one of them my unwavering commitment to do whatever it takes to re-open the US border to our world-class PEI potatoes.
Yesterday, I spoke with the Consul General of Canada in Boston, Rodger Cuzner and the U.S. Consul General, Lyra Carr to provide them with a detailed review of our potato safety management plan. This plan was developed in partnership with the CFIA and approved by the USDA to allow for successful trade between Canada and the USA for the last 20 years. I reiterated to both Consul General Cuzner and Consul General Carr that our agriculture sector on Prince Edward Island puts the highest priority on producing safe, high-quality potatoes for the world to enjoy.
I am in contact daily with our Island MPs and appreciate their unwavering support for the agriculture industry in Prince Edward Island in fact. They are working hard, both here in PEI and in Ottawa with Minister Bibeau as we know that a resolution to this current situation will only be found through a coordinated and unified effort.
Our Situation Table continues to meet and seek opportunities to reverse this decision and support our agriculture industry in the interim. This table is comprised of: Senior Officials from Executive Council, Intergovernmental Affairs, Trade, Agriculture, the PEI Potato Board, and former MP Wayne Easter, who has been advising our government on this situation for the last few weeks. This group is developing a plan for the days and weeks ahead that will ensure the agriculture industry is supported during these challenging times while looking for any opportunity to have this decision reversed.
I am reaching out to as many of our partners as I can to reiterate the high value and priority we put on the quality and safety of our potatoes. We are trying to utilize the time in our conversations to explain in greater detail the full extent of our wart management protocols and how the processes that we have put in place have served us well and will continue to serve us well. When these conversations are had, there seems to be a positive acceptance of what we do and the importance of our Island products to the North American market.
I will continue to work around the clock with Minister Thompson and my legislative colleagues provincially and nationally to get this order lifted so that we can get back to sharing our world-class potatoes with the rest of the world.”
Office of the Premier