Anti-sealing amendments to be tabled in Senate

Rob Antle
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Politics/fishery

Europe isn't the only place anti-sealing legislation is being debated this week - a Liberal senator plans to ensure it will happen in Ottawa as well.

Senator Mac Harb said in a Feb. 27 letter to senators he is seeking amendments to the Fisheries Act "effectively ending the commercial seal hunt while respecting treaty obligations and protecting the rights of Canada's aboriginal people."

Europe isn't the only place anti-sealing legislation is being debated this week - a Liberal senator plans to ensure it will happen in Ottawa as well.

Senator Mac Harb said in a Feb. 27 letter to senators he is seeking amendments to the Fisheries Act "effectively ending the commercial seal hunt while respecting treaty obligations and protecting the rights of Canada's aboriginal people."

Harb's amendments are expected to be tabled today. The senator did not return Telegram messages before deadline Monday.

While legislation can originate from the Senate and move to the House of Commons, it would be unusual for such an amendment to actually pass into law.

Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea wrote to Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff Monday asking him not to support Harb's proposal.

Harb's proposal is "misguided" and "ill-informed," the minister told The Telegram.

"He seems to be out to destroy us," Shea said.

Bill 'irrelevant'

Meanwhile, Labrador MP Todd Russell called Harb's bill "irrelevant and meaningless," and criticized the Conservatives for making the issue a partisan one.

"The public in my riding should know that his bill does not represent the official policy of the federal Liberal party or the Liberal caucus," Russell said in a statement.

"In fact, we have made our position very clear: the Liberal party supports the Canadian seal hunt.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: House of Commons, The Telegram, Conservatives

Geographic location: Europe, Ottawa, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Funky
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    What does being not cute have anything to do with it?

    And calling meat good is an opinion, not fact. I think seal meat tastes disgusting personally.

    There is no local market except for a few people that buy a few flippers or something. No large scale operations for seal products in this province. So, why are we spending money to prop up a dead industry? Just to spite a few people that think it's gross? I have no problem with how the hunt is conducted or how it looks. But why are we putting so much effort into keeping something going which is costing the province dearly in terms of money and reputation.

    Give it up, the fight is lost.

  • JK
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    Unfortunately, other people will have to end the insanity of the seal hunt. Too many scoundrel politicians and government hand out people have kept this moribund industry going for years. You cannot have a rational discussion about the seal hunt in this province. Only when the Europeans ban the product will people here sit up and take notice. Those people who like to club seals to feed themselves or more likely, their dogs, fine go ahead. The seals are all starving anyway. But do not expect the rest of us to pay for this so called industry that sullies all of us here in Newfoundland.

  • Funky
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    And if the seal population is overpopulated, is it our place to interfere or let the checks and balances of nature run its course?

  • Brian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    JK: it's misinformed people like yourself that are the problem... and propaganda machines that try to convince the rest of the world that we still use seal clubs.

    Shooting a seal is exactly the same as shooting a moose, deer, or rabbit, except that nobody complains about that.

  • bern
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Let's make a little change in the spelling of Mr Harbs name. Change the b to a p (harp) and then give him a good whack.

  • P
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    My questions is, how is banning seal products and/or outlawing the seal hunt going to affect 1. population of seals 2. population of fish 3. livliehood of sealers?? Can we weigh the pros and cons here? The seal population is far from endangered and dare I say overpopulated, the meat is good/nutritional, the seals eat other/more lucrative ocean fare at an alarming pace..and they are not cute, they are not as cute as a deer or rabbit..but we kill and eat those too, don't we? This is a ridiculous plight that should be stricken from the record and forgotten about. When there are a handful of seals left and our waters are teeming with fresh cod again, maybe we can look realisticly at this ban..but for now, I say keep on clubbing!

  • Paul
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Harb is a racist. Not against any minority, but against the people who actually made and own Canada, the white Europeans. In his anti-sealing bill only aboriginals have rights to kill seals. What happened to the rights of the hosts of people that developed a major commercial hunt that helped light the world and kept it warm, and a non-polluting, sustainable one at that. What of our rights in our own country. Harb is another embarassment to an increasingly embarassing country.

  • Aaron
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    It is preposterous for Mr. Russell to say Senator Harb's bill is irrelevant. It is very relevant to those who rely on the seal hunt. It is vital for Canadian parliamentarians to show unity in supporting the seal hunt. It is impossible to convince the EU to back off when our own Parliament is divided on the issue. The leadership of the Liberal party is obviously unwilling or unable to impress upon Mr. Harb the potential for his bill to damage the livelihoods of hard-working outport Newfoundlanders, not to mention the electoral prospects of our province's 6 Liberal MPs. Shameful hypocrisy on Mr. Russell's part. I wonder what he would say if it were a Conservative Senator introducing this bill.

  • Funky
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    What does being not cute have anything to do with it?

    And calling meat good is an opinion, not fact. I think seal meat tastes disgusting personally.

    There is no local market except for a few people that buy a few flippers or something. No large scale operations for seal products in this province. So, why are we spending money to prop up a dead industry? Just to spite a few people that think it's gross? I have no problem with how the hunt is conducted or how it looks. But why are we putting so much effort into keeping something going which is costing the province dearly in terms of money and reputation.

    Give it up, the fight is lost.

  • JK
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    Unfortunately, other people will have to end the insanity of the seal hunt. Too many scoundrel politicians and government hand out people have kept this moribund industry going for years. You cannot have a rational discussion about the seal hunt in this province. Only when the Europeans ban the product will people here sit up and take notice. Those people who like to club seals to feed themselves or more likely, their dogs, fine go ahead. The seals are all starving anyway. But do not expect the rest of us to pay for this so called industry that sullies all of us here in Newfoundland.

  • Funky
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    And if the seal population is overpopulated, is it our place to interfere or let the checks and balances of nature run its course?

  • Brian
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    JK: it's misinformed people like yourself that are the problem... and propaganda machines that try to convince the rest of the world that we still use seal clubs.

    Shooting a seal is exactly the same as shooting a moose, deer, or rabbit, except that nobody complains about that.

  • bern
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Let's make a little change in the spelling of Mr Harbs name. Change the b to a p (harp) and then give him a good whack.

  • P
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    My questions is, how is banning seal products and/or outlawing the seal hunt going to affect 1. population of seals 2. population of fish 3. livliehood of sealers?? Can we weigh the pros and cons here? The seal population is far from endangered and dare I say overpopulated, the meat is good/nutritional, the seals eat other/more lucrative ocean fare at an alarming pace..and they are not cute, they are not as cute as a deer or rabbit..but we kill and eat those too, don't we? This is a ridiculous plight that should be stricken from the record and forgotten about. When there are a handful of seals left and our waters are teeming with fresh cod again, maybe we can look realisticly at this ban..but for now, I say keep on clubbing!

  • Paul
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    Harb is a racist. Not against any minority, but against the people who actually made and own Canada, the white Europeans. In his anti-sealing bill only aboriginals have rights to kill seals. What happened to the rights of the hosts of people that developed a major commercial hunt that helped light the world and kept it warm, and a non-polluting, sustainable one at that. What of our rights in our own country. Harb is another embarassment to an increasingly embarassing country.

  • Aaron
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    It is preposterous for Mr. Russell to say Senator Harb's bill is irrelevant. It is very relevant to those who rely on the seal hunt. It is vital for Canadian parliamentarians to show unity in supporting the seal hunt. It is impossible to convince the EU to back off when our own Parliament is divided on the issue. The leadership of the Liberal party is obviously unwilling or unable to impress upon Mr. Harb the potential for his bill to damage the livelihoods of hard-working outport Newfoundlanders, not to mention the electoral prospects of our province's 6 Liberal MPs. Shameful hypocrisy on Mr. Russell's part. I wonder what he would say if it were a Conservative Senator introducing this bill.