Editor: The end of a recent uni-gendered focus group convinced me that Cavendish Farms was considering leaving P.E.I. One of the other nine men was convinced that Moosehead was leaving the Maritimes. The only other corporate names mentioned were Hershey and McCain’s.
We were not asked to remain confidential so I can tell you that the discussion was moderated by an intelligent young man with excellent people skills who walked us through a variety of scenarios in which it became abundantly clear that some major corporation was examining how to protect its brand image while exiting a community of operations traditionally associated with their brand.
And so I am given real cause to wonder if the recent application to lift the moratorium on deep wells isn’t part of a strategy. I see it two possible ways: perhaps they plan to leave regardless and hope their application is rejected which gives them “cause” or a reason to complain, or conversely, the focus group was intended to create a rumble so that the application would have a better chance of approval. After all, for $100 (cash) — rumoured to have been $75 for women’s groups — I can’t imagine any of us would have refused a non-disclosure. Or, perhaps, Saint John, N.B., is headed for heartache.
If we, everyone, can stop denying that chemical residues in the air (food, water, etc.) are causing real harm to health in P.E.I., and that agriculture is part of that picture, and agree to face the problem together, and do it with respect for our farmers, and if additionally we have unfettered access to the science about water resources, and if we have a hearty discussion for a year or two, then perhaps we should consider Irving’s application. Otherwise I think they should make do with their 33,000 pounds per acre. What besides water gets us to that ridiculous 60,000-pound figure they have? I’ll bet there are chemical companies seeing this as an opportunity.