Seal hunt support

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Liberal MP Gerry Byrne’s letter to The Telegram on Nov. 28 shows once again that federal Liberal support for the seal hunt isn’t much deeper than talking points.

The federal Liberals have partnered with the anti-seal hunt Green Party, and members of the current Liberal caucus have written various fisheries ministers to voice their opposition to the hunt. 

In all these cases, the Liberals have issued press releases, reassuring the public that they unconditionally support the hunt. 

Do they really?

Recently, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that the European Union’s ban on seal products was against international trade rules.

But in a jaw-dropping development, the WTO said that it was OK to break the rules, because people have been fooled by anti-seal hunt propaganda, and therefore, object to the hunt on the grounds of “morality.” 

I rose in the House of Commons to announce that the Conservative government would appeal the decision and called upon the Liberals and NDP to support our appeal.

Liberal MP Scott Simms, to his credit, got up and said that the Liberals would support our appeal. (St. John’s South-Mount Pearl NDP MP Ryan Cleary, who has mused that the hunt should end, did not respond.) 

But, hang on — less than 24 hours later, Gerry Byrne has a lengthy letter in The Telegram, saying our government should not appeal the decision. His rationale wasn’t based in law and he argued that it wasn’t worth the money to appeal the decision.

So what’s the real Liberal position on the seal hunt and a federal government appeal of the WTO decision?

Liberals can keep speaking out of both sides of their mouth, but our government was clear in our speech from the throne that we will continue to stand behind the thousands of Canadians in coastal and Northern communities who depend on the seal hunt to provide a livelihood for their families, and to maintain their culture, traditions and way of life. 

Gail Shea

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Ottawa

Organizations: World Trade Organization, Green Party, European Union House of Commons

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  • H Jefford
    December 08, 2013 - 15:01

    The whole problem is the seal population is to large, and it is destroying the largest food source in the world, The northern Cod stock, The NTV News should have a News Film in their archives of seals driving cod fish upon the shore line and people picking up live cod fish on the beach, In the small bay or cove where this was filmed the fishermen in that area said the ocean floor was 3-4 ft deep in dead fish with their bellies torn out, it is said the seals only eat the fish livers.

  • Cashin Delaney
    December 06, 2013 - 13:18

    The EU doesn't eat seal (we only eat it ritualistically), and surely doesn't eat mink. Stop pumping government money into these non-food industries. Like transmission and generation in our energy plutocracy, pelts and protein must be evaluated with real metrics, concensus ethics and valid science. The seal hunt defense is merely a proxy defense against PETA morality in fur operations involving captive slaughter. The stink of penned salmon and mink will not be a ripe story until, like Muskrat Falls, it is too late to stop. We can stop damaging rivers and abusing wild animals before it gets too intense but we need to let the seal hunt decline naturally. Do not force the hunt to end, or force it to continue. Can government, with all it's more addressable problems, do its job, or must it meddle everywhere it shouldn't as a catalyst for media distraction and social disruption (like impromptu EI changes and free trade non-negotiations). My jumpin Jesu woman, give us some real doublespeak and propaganda of your own, not just claiming the converse of Byrnes letter as your position. What foolishness, all this just to keep rural fishermen away from codfish, wild animal farms operating and the likes of our stunned politicians in a job where they can earn their special friendships with industry. Little to do with seals at all.

  • Gil Theriault
    December 06, 2013 - 11:23

    It's clear Minister Shea understand the realities of small coastal communities because she comes from PEI. By appealing this WTO decision, Minister Shea doesn't not only support the sealers, but all the hunters in Canada who are NOT, in any way, morally inferior to EU hunters.

  • saelcove
    December 06, 2013 - 10:23

    You mean Fiberals

  • Dion Dakins
    December 06, 2013 - 10:05

    Reality is: This issue is now bigger than just seals. The WTO in it ruling has upheld the EU Ban on Seal Products which clearly positions Sealing Nations, Canada, Norway, Namibia as MORALLY INFERIOR because we wish to trade and not waste the resource. This is alarming and should be a wake up call for many industries and all parties of Canada's Government! Canada is a resource basket. Food Security is a growing concern and seals put immense pressure on wild fish stocks. BUT - Ignoring all that the products are tasty, healthy and look good! Let Consumer Freedom reign! Way to Go Minister Shea! The sustainable use community applauds the appeal!

    • Gil Theriault
      December 06, 2013 - 11:29

      Absolutely. Seal hunt in Canada is possibly the most regulated hunt in the world. Condemning it equals condemning ALL hunt, trapping or other animal uses... including pork, beef and chicken. If you're a vegan, good for you, but don't impose you diet on others. Freedom of choice should prevail. This seal ban non-sense has to stop.