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Warts and All

A pertinent message from Sally Bernard, from the The Coalition for the Protection of PEI Lands' March newsletter. The full newsletter can be read here:

Warts and All by Sally Bernard

Well well well, three holes in the ground. Or in this case, just one big hole with a bunch of PEI potato farmers tossed in it by the Feds while politics plays itself out in the theatre of cross border posturing. And one "farmer" sitting up on the edge of the hole looking down, grinning and counting his money.

We all know how much I love to hate Cavendish Farms and the Irving oligarchs. But if this current situation isn't one in which to take a more critical look at them, I don't know what it will take. Of all the businesses and farms affected by the potato wart border closure, Cavendish farms is the one business that stands to BENEFIT from it all. As buyers of potatoes, they now rest as the closest and easiest market for all the potatoes from the fields with wart and now all the potatoes that won't be sold across the border. Desperate farmers who are watching their market go up in smoke will be looking for willing buyers and who will be gleefully rubbing their hands together at an abundance of local spuds at reduced prices?

Even if the potatoes DON'T go to them, what is their incentive to keep the wart in check? They are virtually unaffected by any fresh potato border closure and are always looking for more product so besides the hassle of extra cleaning of their gear at digging time, and some extra CFIA oversight (for which they have people hired to deal with), why would they be particular about keeping it contained? What is their inventive, as a business that buys potatoes that are not sale-able, and then buys farms that are no longer viable because of lost markets?

I know there are lots of farmers and employees on PEI who will never speak their mind on the Irvings for fear of retribution, loss of contract, loss of employment, etc. But until we look this exploitive monopoly in the face and call it what it is, we're just continuing to rail at the heavens, clutch our pearls and pretend we don't know any better. When we know better, we can do better and now we know.

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