Ottawa, ON – John Barlow, Conservative Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Agri-Food and Food Security, Dave Epp, Conservative Deputy Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Agri-Food and Food Security, and Richard Lehoux, Conservative Deputy Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Agri-Food and Food Security, released the following statement following the passing of Minister Bibeau’s self-imposed deadline for a resolution to the P.E.I. potato ban:
“P.E.I. potato farmers held their breath yesterday to see if Minister Bibeau would keep her promise that P.E.I. potatoes would be allowed to be sold to the mainland United States. Unfortunately, they were met with disappointment, another broken promise, and no clear answers as to when their products could be exported to the United States.
“The Liberal government is failing P.E.I. farmers. Despite assuring farmers that she was ‘confident’ that American officials would allow the import of P.E.I. potatoes ‘soon’, Minister Bibeau has given farmers no clear answers as to when they will be able to export their products to US markets.
“‘Soon’ simply isn’t good enough. The Liberal government’s self-imposed export ban started November 21, 2021 — 110 days ago, and P.E.I. farmers are no closer to a resolution. In the meantime, 300 million pounds of potatoes have been destroyed, Canadian families are struggling, and irreversible damage has been inflicted on this critical industry; the impact of which could be felt for decades to come.
“The potato industry to P.E.I. is what the lumber industry is to British Columbia, the energy sector is to the West, the automotive industry is to Ontario, and the aerospace industry is to Quebec. It’s time the Liberal government gets serious about protecting the interests of P.E.I. and starts using all resources at their disposal to end this political trade dispute immediately.
“Conservatives are calling on Minister Bibeau to make this crisis her top priority. The Minister must work with her American counterparts to immediately lift the export ban and ensure that P.E.I. potatoes can safely be exported to US consumers. If she doesn’t, generational farmers are at risk of losing their livelihoods and going bankrupt.”