(Ottawa) In an open letter sent today to Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea, Senator Mac Harb questioned the government’s policy of sitting in the back seat as communities in the North struggle to cope with changes in the seal product industry.
"The Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami was pressured into an appeal of the EU ban because the federal government has done nothing to make the Northern exempt status work in their favour," says Senator Harb. "The Inuit problem with marketing their product is not an EU problem; it is the Canadian government’s problem. The problem here is not the market; it’s the lack of government marketing support, plain and simple.
"The government has chosen to use the Inuit in a vain effort to defend the larger, economically unviable Atlantic commercial hunt. Now the Inuit are suffering the consequences as no groundwork has been laid to develop what could have been a lucrative niche market for their seal products."
Senator Harb, who is strongly opposed to the commercial seal hunt with the exception of the aboriginal hunt, has repeatedly called on the government to withdraw its WTO challenge of the EU ban and focus its efforts on supporting the Atlantic and Inuit sealing communities.