On Thursday, February 2nd, Canada’s Members of Parliament wore seal skin pins to show support for the Seal Hunt. Outside the Chamber, Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield, accompanied by cabinet colleagues Leona Aglukkaq, Peter Penashue and Steve Blaney, convened a seal fur ribbon “pinning ceremony” to “reaffirm the government’s continued support for Canadian sealers.”
Officially named ‘Seal Day on the Hill’ , members wore the pin for the entirety of Question Period and presumably for the rest of the day. As usual the Conservative government proclaimed their ongoing and continued support for the hunt as they simultaneously criticized the opposition for their lack of support, as proven by MP Ryan Cleary’s statements in January. The opposition fired back stating that if the government truly supported the hunt, they would not have let it deteriorate into the sorry state it is in, and would have fought for it during trade and economic discussions rather than let the international trade bans go practically unopposed and unmentioned.
The event took place after a day of trade shows that promoted the cultural and economic products of Northern and Eastern Canada. After which, members of the seal industry were supposed to meet with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale and the possibility of a meeting with the Prime Minister himself was even discussed. Later Dunderdale would cancel the meeting due to ‘lack of time and scheduling conflicts’ and the meeting with the Prime Minister would only include the politician members and not the representatives from the industry.
Frankly, after years of the same broken promises, the promises and words of these politicians are about as flimsy as the ribbons they tacked on to show ‘support’. If any of these politicians wanted to show their true support, they would grow a set of balls and stand up and fight for the industry, confront those who spread misinformation, and tackle the international trade bans in the same manner they would were it wood, oil or gas.
The market for seal products never dwindled; access to the market was blocked by international pressure. Considering Canada is one of the largest exporters of natural resources to these countries, why couldn’t the PM, if he truly supported the hunt, simply put his foot down and tell the other nations that if they want the oil, ore, water or wood that they will keep all trade open? Faced with a lack of materials and resources, they would have had no choice but to take it instead of leaving it.