Hon. Harry W. Hays (Minister of Agriculture):
Mr. Speaker, as hon. Members are aware, the department announced on June 22 that the golden nematode, a serious pest of potato and tomato crops, had been found in a commercial field of potatoes in the Saanich peninsula of Vancouver Island.
This is a serious pest, not only because of its effect on potato crops but because if it became widespread it could result in restrictions on exports of plants with soil and seed potatoes, particularly to the United States.
The nematode was identified on the Vancouver Island farm on June 17. The farm has been placed under quarantine, and the export out of Canada of plants or crops with soil from Vancouver Island has been prohibited. Departmental officials have conducted an intensive survey of crops on the peninsula and to date have found no further indications of infestation except on this one farm. Investigations, however, are being continued to ensure that the infestation is confined to this one farm.
With regard to the question raised by the hon. Member for Esquimalt-Saanich, I may say that in cases where it is warranted appropriate compensation is provided for under the Destructive Insect and Pest Act.
Subtopic: VANCOUVER ISLAND-COMPENSATION FOR LOSS OF NURSERY STOCK THROUGH INFESTATION