Provincial Seed Centre Privatized

FREDERICTON:  Employees at the Bon Accord Elite Seed Potato Centre in Perth Andover, a provincial-owned facility, have been given their pink slip this morning.

“The workers were called in and informed that as of Friday this week, they will be out of a job”, said Andy Hardy, President of CUPE Local 1190 which represents the workers at the centre.

The centre employed on a regular basis 10 workers, and during potato planting and harvesting season, an additional 30 workers.

The farm is a completely self-contained elite seed production unit which produces 35 variety of potato seeds for about 20 seed producers in the province.

“Premier David Alward is doing exactly what his predecessor Shawn Graham tried to do with NB Power, sell public assets without  any mandate”, added Hardy.

“This centre in operation since the 1960s is worth millions of dollars.  Bon Accord housed a greenhouse, 300 hectares of cultivated fields, a climate potato warehouse and various pieces of equipment,” said Hardy.

“The government is selling the Centre to Potatoes New Brunswick.  We would like to know how much the government will get from that sale.”

“Having an agricultural background and being a former minister of Agriculture, Premier Alward should know how important it is to have a public seed potato growing facility which guarantees a disease-free and affordable crop to the farmers.

“Even worst, this latest decision from the Alward Government is another blow to rural New Brunswick; once more, rural communities are losing some good paying jobs.”