Please refer to "what's new" section on the Welcome page for up to date information on my efforts to end the commercial seal hunt in Canada.
End the Commercial Seal Hunt in Canada S-207
On March 9, 2010 I re-introduced legislation in the Senate which, by amending The Fisheries Act, will effectively end the commercial seal hunt in Canada while respecting treaty obligations and protecting the rights of Canada’s aboriginal people.
Last year’s $1 million hunt, which likely did not even cover the costs of the few sealers who participated, was carried out at a huge cost to Canadian taxpayers and to our international reputation. The risks and costs of the commercial hunt and its declining financial benefits render it useless as an economic lifeboat for sealers. And now the government is taking its futile efforts to keep the hunt alive to the WTO, spending an estimated $10 million to challenge the European Union’s democratic right to ban seal products despite the fact that 73% of Canadians say that the EU should be able to restrict trade in seal products, if it chooses to do so.
A total of 30 countries have made a similar choice to ban trade in seal products, including seven of Canada’s top 10 export markets. In 2009, Canada posted its first annual trade deficit in 34 years, a situation which will only be exacerbated by a pointless defense of the commercial seal hunt. The existence of the commercial seal hunt has been a source of conflict and distraction up to and during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Canada’s largest trading partners and a majority of Canadians have denounced the commercial hunt. Canada’s Inuit hunters have been left high and dry as the government fails to work with them to take advantage of their special exemption under the European ban, choosing instead to lump them in with the commercial seal industry and its doomed fate.
Canadians are becoming increasingly frustrated at the refusal of federal politicians to look beyond political expediency at the deeper issues. The time has come to have an open, rational debate on the continued existence of the commercial seal hunt in Canada. As I have stated before, I firmly believe the Senate, in its role as a Chamber of sober second thought, is the ideal forum for debate on the economic realities confronting this dying industry. And I believe that Senators, working on behalf of all Canadians, will be able to see the importance of accepting these realities and working to transition those involved into viable industries befitting a modern country.
[See also "Speeches" and "Sen. Harb's Bills, Motions and Inquiries" on the right for information on the commercial seal hunt in Canada.]