(Ottawa) "The government's decision to proceed with an appeal of the European Union's ban on trade in seal products to the World Trade Organization is a complete and utter waste of time and taxpayers’ money," said Ontario Senator Mac Harb.
Responding to today's announcement by International Trade Minister Stockwell Day, Senator Harb pointed out that it will cost Canadians an estimated $10 million and could take as long as three years to go through the consultation process at the WTO, a process that will inevitably end in defeat for Canada as the EU drafted its import ban legislation in accordance with WTO regulations.
“The United States, Canada’s largest trading partner, has had a similar ban for more than thirty years. Canada has never challenged that ban. A total of 30 countries have now banned the sale of seal products, including 7 of Canada’s top 10 export markets. Why are we risking trade relations with the EU, Canada’s second most important trading partner at a time when we are entering sensitive free trade negotiations and in the midst of a tentative economic recovery?” said Sen. Harb. “We should be turning our attention and our resources where it can do some good. The $10 million being thrown at an appeal would go a long way towards transitioning those involved in the commercial seal hunt into economically viable alternatives.”
The majority of Canadians have said they do not want the government using tax dollars to prop up this dying industry but would support programs to transition those involved out of the commercial seal hunt.