G7 ministers have no appetite to talk about seals at Iqaluit conference

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty makes his way out of an igloo during a break in G7 Finance Ministers meetings in the Canadian northern community of Iqaluit, Nunavut, Saturday February 6, 2010. Iqaluit is the site of the G7 Finance Ministers meeting

It seems everyone in this Arctic community was trying to put the issue of seals in front of the European delegation at the G7 finance ministers meeting.
But regardless of their efforts, the Europeans just weren't biting - not into seal meat anyway.
A summit-ending community feast with raw and cooked seal on offer, along with local fare, like caribou, whale and muskox was studiously avoided by the principals of France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.
And at a concluding news conference, the subject of seal and the proposed European ban on seal products was treated as an unsavoury subject.
Iqaluit-based reporter Kent Driscoll drew an uncomfortable silence from the four finance ministers when he asked them if their stay in Iqaluit had taught them a lesson about the importance of seal in the Canadian North.
The ministers exchanged glances, lowered their heads, but said nothing.
When the painful silence was too much, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty came to the rescue by pointing out the European Union makes an exception with respect to the indigenous Inuit people.
"As you know, we're very proud of Nunavut. Nunavut has been its own jurisdiction for about 10 years now and before that, many, many years of negotiations, which were fruitful. So this is a collaboration in Canada of which we are proud," he said.
Driscoll, a reporter for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, persisted, noting the exception is for parts used for traditional purposes.
"I'm wondering, again, from the European Union ministers, have you seen anything that would lead you to want to open that window a little bit more?"
Again, no reaction. Again the pleading stares turned to Flaherty, the host of the event and the person who chose this northern outpost for the G7 meetings.
"I think I've been fairly clear," responded Flaherty, more curtly.
Flaherty said later that France's finance minister Christine Lagarde thanked him for his timely intervention.
On the no-shows, the minister explained that because of the time change with Europe, the ministers wanted to go home early.
He noted that the dignitaries took part in the cultural presentation by the community Friday and many had gone on a dog-sled run on the ice.
He said several personally told him they had enjoyed their adventure, with some calling it the best G7 meeting they have attended.
"When I first suggested this a year ago, there was some skepticism and some wondering where this place was," he said.
"But at the end of the day they all came and they all really enjoyed it."
Flaherty and Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney, who was born in the Northwest Territories, were the only participants to make an appearance at the community feast.
Both ate in a private room and emerged to thank the community and play a game of dice on the high school gym floor. Flaherty was given a gift of a seal-skin vest, which he wore the rest of the evening.

Organizations: G7, European Union, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Flaherty and Bank of Canada

Geographic location: Iqaluit, France, Arctic Nunavut Germany Italy United Kingdom Canada Europe Northwest Territories

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Recent comments

  • Sweet
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Newfoundlanders (and yes, I am one) seem to be very comfortable to lean quite far to the left on most issues, thanks largely it seems to being told what to think by vocal progressives , especially the ABC PCs.

    So how do reconcile being the object of such revulsion by the rest of the world's loony left on the seal hunt issue? Doesn't bother you? Not a trace of cognitive dissonance? Yeah, thought so, easier to just ignore that massive grey pachyderm filling up the room.....

  • Herb
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Bottom Line: If seals were ugly nobody would give a sh*t. That's the ugly TRUTH. No problem slaughtering every other animal on earth, but not the cute faced seal. Sweet Irony: does it bother you to be from NF, and not NL. Sounds like cognitive dissonance to me.

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    If there was a market or a need then fine, harvest what is required. It seems too many people want to force a market just to earn a living. As they saying goes, keep up or be left behind. I can not walk into Sobeys here in St. Johns and buy Seal, why then should we think we can force others to purchase a product that is not even on our store shelves?

    Only place I know to purchase Seal is from the back of a truck on Harbour Street. Not too much demand I guess. Maybe the Seal Industry needs to move onto greener pastures as many others have needed to do in-order to put food on the table.

  • Mark
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Killing baby seals is wrong!!!! Too many hunters club any seal they can no matter what their size.. It makes me sick.

  • Rich
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Mark......WE DON'T KILL THE BABY SEALS. As for the demand for seal meat and other products, well, people have to realise that we (the people) Europeans, France, etc have upset the natural balance by combing the sea for every last fish. Now the seals are up every fresh water brook for miles away from the ocean. I've personally had to drive around a seal on the veterans memorial highway where it swam up the gould brook after fish. I think there should be a bounty put on them. People should be paid to get the numbers down.

  • Sweet
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Newfoundlanders (and yes, I am one) seem to be very comfortable to lean quite far to the left on most issues, thanks largely it seems to being told what to think by vocal progressives , especially the ABC PCs.

    So how do reconcile being the object of such revulsion by the rest of the world's loony left on the seal hunt issue? Doesn't bother you? Not a trace of cognitive dissonance? Yeah, thought so, easier to just ignore that massive grey pachyderm filling up the room.....

  • Herb
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Bottom Line: If seals were ugly nobody would give a sh*t. That's the ugly TRUTH. No problem slaughtering every other animal on earth, but not the cute faced seal. Sweet Irony: does it bother you to be from NF, and not NL. Sounds like cognitive dissonance to me.

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    If there was a market or a need then fine, harvest what is required. It seems too many people want to force a market just to earn a living. As they saying goes, keep up or be left behind. I can not walk into Sobeys here in St. Johns and buy Seal, why then should we think we can force others to purchase a product that is not even on our store shelves?

    Only place I know to purchase Seal is from the back of a truck on Harbour Street. Not too much demand I guess. Maybe the Seal Industry needs to move onto greener pastures as many others have needed to do in-order to put food on the table.

  • Mark
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Killing baby seals is wrong!!!! Too many hunters club any seal they can no matter what their size.. It makes me sick.

  • Rich
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Mark......WE DON'T KILL THE BABY SEALS. As for the demand for seal meat and other products, well, people have to realise that we (the people) Europeans, France, etc have upset the natural balance by combing the sea for every last fish. Now the seals are up every fresh water brook for miles away from the ocean. I've personally had to drive around a seal on the veterans memorial highway where it swam up the gould brook after fish. I think there should be a bounty put on them. People should be paid to get the numbers down.