National Seal Products Day Act

An Act respecting National Seal Products Day

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment designates May 20 as “National Seal Products Day”.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Nov. 2, 2016 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.

National Seal Products Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 5th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to this private member's bill. I want to begin by acknowledging the excellent work of my NPD colleague, the hon. member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, who is our critic on this file.

Bill S-208 seeks to designate May 20 as national seal products day. I will get into why that date was chosen a bit later. Beyond its symbolic nature, this bill seeks to provide significant support to certain communities, especially to people who earn their income from the seal hunt and for whom this might be a traditional practice.

People watching us on television might be wondering why on earth a member from east-central Montreal is rising to talk about the seal hunt. I must admit that there are not a lot of seals or seal hunting in my riding.

National Seal Products Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 5th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Yes, I better double-check.

However, Madam Speaker, it is important to me to rise because I want to show my solidarity with the communities and workers of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Magdalen Islands, and northern Quebec and Canada, as well as the Inuit and first nation peoples, to whom it is important to have a flourishing, balanced, sustainable, and cruelty-free seal hunting industry.

I know full well that this has been a controversial issue for years. It is a contentious issue, and emotions run high. However, I think we need to take an approach that is rooted in science, sustainable development, and support from the communities where seal hunting is an essential, traditional, and important practice.

The NDP has always believed that seal hunting could be done in a responsible, respectful, and sustainable manner. That is why we are proud to rise in support of this bill to designate a national seal products day.

We believe in seal hunting because, since the dawn of time, all human communities have used the natural resources available to them for sustenance, survival, and development. First we were gatherers, then we learned to farm the land, to fish, and to hunt the animals around us. In those days, there were few human beings on this immense planet, and their impact on the environment as a whole was minimal.

We have since come to understand that our very numbers sometimes put animal and plant species at risk. Unfortunately, species become extinct every year, often due to human activity.

We also know that it is possible to hunt and fish responsibly with the help of credible scientific assessments to ensure that stocks remain healthy, reproduce, and are not put at risk. That is the case for all fishing in Canada, and also for hunting. We hunt deer and caribou because we can set quotas. We can scientifically calculate the number of animals that can be harvested in a year while ensuring the survival of the species or herd in a given region. The process applies to almost all our hunting and fishing activities, and I am personally convinced, as are my NDP colleagues, that we could very easily do the same thing for the seal hunt.

We have to keep in mind that seals, particularly harp seals, are not threatened at all. Here are the facts. In 30 years, the harp seal population tripled. There are now between eight million and nine million harp seals, which is the most commonly hunted species. According to forecasts for 2030, this population will reach between 10 million and 16 million individuals. We have to do away with misconceptions, with images that captured the public's attention over the past few years, and offended or distressed some people. I will come back to that. I understand how they feel, but let us look at the facts. This species is thriving, sometimes to the detriment of other animals, such as our cod stocks and other fish that seals prey on.

The grey seal population has increased from 10,000 to 500,000, that is half a million, in 50 years. No additional protection is needed for either the harp seal or the grey seal. We can continue to hunt them responsibly and use the healthy products derived from them. We know that we can use their fur for boots, coats, hats, and sometimes even ties, which are proudly worn in the House of Commons. Seals are also a source of food, fuel, and health products. When researching my speech, I learned that there is a growing market for seal oil, which is very rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. There are many interesting and beneficial uses for all the products derived from the seal hunt.

I have something important to say to all those who are concerned about the seal hunt. Only humane practices are used. Let us remember when certain European celebrities visited northern Canada to capitalize on this issue. Denis Longuépée, president of the Magdalen Islands Sealers Association, a man who is aptly named for a hunter, said that we would never be able to get rid of that image because, even though white coat seals have not been hunted for 25 years, people are still using that image. He added that we need to try to convince people to buy and try seal products.

It is important to remind anyone who is concerned about cruelty to animals that white coat seals are no longer hunted. The practice has stopped. Seal hunting is respectful, sustainable, and science-based, and it can be done without people always reminding us of that old image, which is no longer even relevant.

It is important to remind people of this because, unfortunately, that shocking and distressing image has managed to influence policy makers on the other side of the Atlantic. Indeed, the European Union has made decisions that we do not agree with. In August 2010, it decided to ban Canadian seal products. The structure of the European Union is very interesting. It is something I have studied, something that I follow very closely. The European Union generally makes good decisions; that one was not so good.

As parliamentarians, as the representatives of all those communities and the workers who make a living from the seal hunt, we need to take a stand. Creating a national seal products day would send a clear message to everyone, here in Canada and in the European Union. We need to continue to engage in dialogue with the European Union to reopen that market.

National Seal Products Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 5th, 2017 / 1:40 p.m.
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Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Yvonne Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

Madam Speaker, I am happy to rise today and support a bill that has been put forward in the House of Commons by my colleague, the member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, which is, in essence, central coastal Newfoundland.

Bill S-208 is an important bill for all of us who have lived a traditional life, both commercially and non-commercially, around the sealing industry. The people in my riding of Labrador, both indigenous and non-indigenous, have engaged in the seal industry for centuries. Throughout my family, right back to my great-great grandfather's day, the seal was a very important part of survival, both from a cultural perspective and an earning value perspective, for the family. It is a way of life for us still today, as we eat seal and wear seal.

We feel that the federal government has an obligation to protect and support Canadian heritage activities, whether that be farming, fishing, or in this case, seal harvesting. We are asking members of the House of Commons to support that position.

Bill S-208 is just one way for the federal government to stand by its commitment to indigenous people and non-indigenous people and to those whose economies are affiliated with the seal industry.

While foreign governments and well-funded activist groups from away, and at home in Canada, have dealt a significant blow to this industry over the years and have created a terrible image of the Canadian seal harvest, we have an obligation to ensure that we make things right and point out the unfair publicity that has surrounded the industry.

It has been more than 30 years since regulations started to change in the seal industry. The images today of white coats and baby seals are still used by those who are trying to make a cash grab on the backs of those in the industry. However, it has been more than 30 years since that has occurred in the sealing industry in Canada. It is one of the most humane industries one could ever partake in, and the people who perpetuate a different image are indeed, as my colleague said, fraudulent in their intentions and fraudulent in their information.

What is happening in the industry today is that their negative propaganda has done harm. It has done harm to the Inuit people, who are dependant on seals for food security in their communities, and it has done harm to the rural and coastal communities of Canada.

For Labradorians, and for Inuit all over Canada, the seal harvest is part of our lives. It is the cultural core of who we are as people, and it is the mainstay of our diet.

It is really hard to explain to Canadians who have not been part of the north shore of Quebec and the Magdalen Islands' cultural industry, or that of Nunavut, Nunavik, Labrador, or coastal Newfoundland, what it means from a cultural and industry perspective, but I am going to attempt to do that. I will attempt to do it through my own story, as one person.

I grew up in a small, remote, rural community of predominantly indigenous Inuit people. When I grew up in the community, our clothes back then were all of seal. They were all hand sewn and handmade by my mother, my grandmothers, and my aunts. It was made from the seals my dad and my grandfather would catch. Not only was it the main source of food and protein for our family but it was a main source of clothing as well. Still today we continue in that vein, despite the negative publicity toward us.

We are not a society of people that judge others based on their culture. We do not judge them based on what they eat or what their cultural practices are, nor should they judge us, as northern and coastal people.

We know that sealing is more than a cultural industry and significant industry to the people of the north and coastal regions in Canada. It is also a species which is impacting the entire fisheries ecosystem in Atlantic Canada. Those who ignore the impact of the seal on other species are blinding themselves in a cloud; they do not want to be peeping out at the real story.

The real story is that in coastal areas like in Newfoundland and Labrador, we have seen the seal population growing at a rapid rate. We are no longer harvesting at the levels we once did because the commercial industry has been eroded, and because the international markets have been buying into the fraud and the negative propaganda of money-grabbing socialite groups. It is because of those things that our whole ecosystem is out of balance.

We hear it from those who work in the fishing industry. They are seeing a huge depopulation of capelin and cod. I live in a community that has a river running through it, where I fish for salmon with a rod from the rock just down the lane from my house. I can look out and see seals in that river, something my grandfather never saw. The animals are starving. They are looking for a food supply. They are starving, and they are going wherever they can to find food.

Seals have become overpopulated. They have become a huge predator to every other fish species in the ocean. Seals today are eating more fish in the Atlantic waters around the coastal communities and the ridings like the one I represent than any fishery could take in 10 years, based on the quota levels we currently have.

The seal industry is important in many ways. It is important to the people who live there and who have culturally used this animal for survival, and continue to do so today, as a main source of food and clothing. It is important to the ecosystem of the fisheries habitat that we continue to harvest, to ensure that balance is there and that communities are able to have sustainable fisheries, in seal, cod, salmon, shrimp, crab, and capelin. Right now the seal is overpopulated and has become a predator to every other species.

It is not uncommon for any of us in those communities to get emails and photos from fishermen, who, in just cleaning a seal, are opening it up to find its stomach filled with baby crab. This is in areas where the crab population is declining at huge rates year over year.

However, through this bill, we do want to point out the importance of seal products in Canada, in all of our communities, and what that means as a supplement to the income of people who live there. When we look at traditional crafts from northern and Arctic regions, especially in Nunavut—I think my colleague from Nunavut spoke on this bill a couple of weeks ago in the House of Commons—we can see the tremendous dependence on seal products to be able to run small businesses, to earn a living, and to build on investments in those communities. It has been a way of life for them, as harvesting, farming, and fishing have been a way of life for anyone else in this country.

We feel that this bill is consistent with our commitment to renewing our relationship with indigenous people who depend on this industry, as I have outlined. I would like to remind everyone in this House, and anyone who will listen, that Canada's seal harvest is one of the most humane industries. It is well regulated and sustainable. Seals are overly abundant and healthy in Canada; there is absolutely no doubt about that.

I want to assure all my colleagues of the importance of supporting this bill, and of the importance of marketing seal, as a product and as an industry, for Canadians who have depended upon it traditionally for many years.

National Seal Products Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 5th, 2017 / 1:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to the private member's bill put forward by the member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame. It is also an honour to work with the member on the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.

I want to recognize the message the member for Labrador just spoke to, that being the importance of the seal harvest and seal products to those communities and their traditions and heritage.

I appreciate this opportunity to support the member and Bill S-208, which seeks to designate May 20 as national seal products day.

Canada is known as a melting pot for cultures from around the world. This is something we can be proud of. While we Canadians can be proud of how that melting pot is always changing, we should also be proud of how we developed as a country, a country that is continuing to grow and prosper from the ability to sustainably harvest and market our natural resources, resources such as our wood products, although that market is somewhat hindered right now; our minerals; our fisheries; and of course, the resource that was originally responsible for Canada's early development, our fur products. Those fur products included beaver, muskrat, marten, and of course, seal. All of these species have been harvested sustainably, and we continue to have healthy, viable populations. In fact, some seal populations are now at historic levels.

Seal products are much more than fur or pelts. They are a high protein product for our tables, and they provide top omega 3 oils for health care products, which many remote maritime communities rely on for their livelihoods. Without them, many of those coastal communities would dwindle and perhaps die.

What is really significant is that with the loss of those communities would be the loss of a big part of our Canadian heritage, a heritage we need not be ashamed of, a heritage that has continued for hundreds of years, sustainably and continuously. It allowed the early residents of this continent to live here. It allowed early European settlers to immigrate and build better lives for their families than they might have had in their homelands. It is a heritage that is truly part of Canada.

In considering this legislation, I reflected on another bill, a successful bill that recognized how important our outdoor- oriented heritage is in Canada, and that was Bill C-501, which passed in 2014. It was introduced by Rick Norlock, the member from Northumberland--Quinte West. That legislation established the third Saturday in September as National Hunting Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day, a day to recognize, as this bill would, the importance of these activities in the development and survival of this great nation of ours.

While many members of the House may never have had the opportunity, and I might say enlightenment, of taking part in any of these amazing activities, I believe that all members can see how these activities and the products derived from them have played an important role and should be recognized nationally. Without that recognition, we risk losing not only the significance of hunting, trapping, fishing, and sealing but we risk losing those communities on our coasts and in our hinterlands that are so dependent on the products that can be obtained in a sustainable way.

I would like to take a few minutes to share some of my thoughts and my experiences in participating in some of these heritage activities. Although I have not participated in a seal harvest, I have had the incredible experience of being out in the wild pitting myself against the elements, pitting myself against the instincts and senses of the fish and game species that are so abundant in Canada.

Anti-use groups will try to diminish what we do and how we survive as Canadians because they want to end our legal activities. However, because of my participation in these activities, I will put myself up against them any day. These activities have enabled me to experience what really goes on out there. They have allowed me to put food on my table and to do so sustainably. I have learned that the best way to value and build appreciation and continued recognition of our fish and wildlife resources is to be immersed in it, partaking in the activities of fishing, hunting, trapping, and sealing, something many opponents will never get the chance to experience and will never understand the value of being there, touching it, and experiencing it first-hand.

I admire the member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame for his initiative in asking for recognition of the value and the importance of seal products to our indigenous communities, our coastal communities, and the individuals who retain their sustenance and livelihood from seal products. We need to continue these roles and the importance of this. I truly admire him for putting this forward, not just on behalf of the residents of his area on the east coast, but for the importance of similar activities such as hunting, trapping, and fishing across the country.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not make special mention today. I would like to take the opportunity to wish my loving wife Linda a happy 38th anniversary.

National Seal Products Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 5th, 2017 / 1:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to follow my colleague from British Columbia in support of Bill S-208, put forward by the member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, the illustrious chair of the fisheries committee.

I, too, serve on that committee. In fact, I have been on the fisheries committee ever since I became a member of Parliament, nearly seven years ago, and it has been a great committee to be on. Not that long ago, the chair talked about how many reports the committee had put out, 10 reports so far since this Parliament began. We have a very productive, interesting, and significant committee.

I very strongly support this bill. I represent a large rural area in Manitoba, and Manitoba is a coastal province. There are seals in Churchill in Hudson Bay. We do not seal hunt, but it is a coastal province.

For a prairie boy who grew up hunting, fishing and being the ultimate romantic when it comes to the outdoors, many years ago I got my hands on a book by George Allan England called, The Greatest Hunt in the World. He was on Captain Kean's boat in the 1920s and went on a seal hunt himself. As I read this direct account of the seal hunt, I could not imagine the toughness, the bravery, and the sheer guts it took for those men to go out on the ice every spring to harvest seals.

Canada's seal hunt is sustainable, and previous speakers have talked about the sustainability of it. Unfortunately, Canada's seal hunt has been the target of very unfair and fraudulent campaigns by the animal rights movement, led by groups like Animal Justice Canada, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and so on. It is clear that the sole purpose of these anti-sealing groups is to raise funds for themselves, and the collateral damage to coastal communities has simply been staggering.

A witness at the aboriginal affairs committee not that long ago talked about the increase in suicide rates in some Inuit communities, partly attributed to the collapse of the seal hunt. These people do not want to save cuddly animals. These people are a danger to rural and remote communities. The seal hunt is the canary in the coal mine. As somebody who has fought the animal rights movement and the people who want to shut down communities like the one I represent, the seal hunt, the canary in the coal mine, the tip of the iceberg, pick a metaphor, whether it is anti-logging, anti-trapping, anti-hunting, anti-mining, and, quite frankly, anti-oil and gas, it is the rural communities that bear the brunt of these campaigns. One of the reasons I became a member of Parliament was to protect and defend rural communities. I have had experiences fighting the good fight on all these issues.

Interestingly enough, again going back to the animal rights movement and the animal rights groups, these people do not care about cuddly animals. They want an end to all animal use, farming, ranching, trapping, and sealing of course, and sealing is the easiest target. However, if we look at all their websites, they also want an end to animal-based medical research. I do not know if members in the House realize it, but when I met with the Heart and Stroke Foundation some time ago, I asked point blank how much of the cardiac research was done on animals and it was 60%. Again, these anti-animal use campaigns can be extremely harmful.

I will also talk about the unfairness of countries that ban seal products. The European ban was completely uncalled for. It is easy for another country to point fingers at another jurisdiction and pay no political price for it, while being made to look like people who care about the environment. The U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act prevents seal products from entering the U.S., no matter how abundant seals are.

The animal rights movement caused a decrease in the seal harvest, and as colleagues talked about a minute ago, the number of harp seals has increased dramatically, from 1.8 million in 1970 to about 7.4 million now; and grey seals, from 13,000 in 1970 to 505,000 now. There are varying estimates, but the seals consume between 10 and 15 times what the east coast fleet harvests. It is quite clearly established that the high grey seal populations are preventing a recovery of the gulf cod.

Not that long ago, our fisheries committee submitted two reports to Parliament, one on Atlantic salmon and one on northern cod. In both studies, the seals were implicated in the decline of the Atlantic salmon in particular, and in the prevention of the recovery of the cod as well. Both committee reports recommended an expanded seal harvest, done humanely but expanded, to reduce the numbers of these seal species to improve the populations of Atlantic salmon and cod.

Nobody wants to wipe out the seals. However, I think it is our duty as human stewards of this earth to restore a balance that is completely out of whack right now.

I had the honour many years ago of doing work in the eastern Arctic, around Southampton Island, on Arctic char, and I had the honour of living with an Inuit family. I participated in a seal hunt and a walrus hunt. I have had a lot of experience in the outdoors, but I have had some Arctic experience. I do know what it is like to plunge one's hand into a freshly killed walrus and experience the joy and exuberance of the hunt when one is successful. It was an experience that I will cherish. I have eaten raw seal, raw walrus, and I found the tastes interesting, to say the least. It can be good.

I am very pleased, as well, to see an increase in demand for seal products, the seal oil, the high levels of omega 3. We have companies that are exploiting this. I applaud my colleague and the colleagues from all parties who support our traditions of sealing, hunting, trapping, and fishing. Many of us belong to an organization called the outdoor caucus, and I see a number of members wearing an outdoor caucus pin.

I want to finish up with the tale of Bill C-246. As we know, a Liberal member of Parliament introduced a private member's bill that many of us viewed as a closet animal rights bill. I was very pleased to see that many Liberal members of Parliament, and almost all Conservative members of Parliament, worked very hard to defeat that particular bill. We motivated people from all across the country to build a coalition of sealers, trappers, hunters, anglers, and medical researchers, who realized the implications of that particular bill.

While I must thank the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie for his speech, and I listened with great interest to it, I would note that almost all of the NDP caucus voted for Bill C-246, except for one, the member for Kootenay—Columbia. I do not say this to be mean, in any sense of the word, but it is very important that we, as members of Parliament, stand on principle to protect our communities and the people who hunt, trap, fish, and harvest seals.

I must also say that sealing is largely a rural industry, but we have a lot of people who live in cities who love to hunt, fish, and trap. Again, I want to compliment my colleague for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, a Montreal area member of Parliament, who has chosen to throw his support behind the bill for a national seal products day.

In conclusion, I am very proud to support the bill. I am proud to serve with my colleague on the fisheries committee. I look forward to the bill being passed and being a very great help to the sealing industry, now and into the future.

National Seal Products Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 5th, 2017 / 2:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, NL

Madam Speaker, before I forget, I want to wish my colleague from North Okanagan—Shuswap and his wife a very happy anniversary, as he ended his speech by wishing his wife a happy anniversary. As my colleague from Spadina—Fort York said, it was certainly sealed with a kiss.

Nevertheless, I want to thank my hon. colleagues who spoke here today, and everyone who has supported this at second reading, as we now go into a vote on third reading.

Several of the issues that were brought up are quite germane to a seal products day, simply because it all ties into not just an ecosystem in its natural sense but an ecosystem of the economy as well. In many cases, many northern communities depend on this particular harvest to not only further their culture but also the economy. That is a very important part of it.

I was going to talk briefly about the fraudulent activities of some animal rights groups, but I think my colleague from Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa encapsulated it quite well when he talked about how animal rights groups get it wrong, so I will leave it at that.

Some of the themes brought forward by my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie were quite well done, and had not been brought up prior to his speaking, so I just want to touch on some of those.

A sustainability element is always built into the seal harvest that we partake in. The problem now is that the population has grown so much, 10 million harp seals and the doubling of the grey seal population in just a few years, as my friends from the Maritimes can attest to from what we have seen in the study from the fisheries committee. Many jurisdictions around the world are partaking in the cull or downsizing of these populations to provide balance to the ecosystem, as my friend from Manitoba pointed out. He also pointed out in our fisheries committee studies with respect to the Atlantic salmon and northern cod how this too shall come to pass, when we talk about the declining seal population, that we may have to embark on in order to bring some balance back into that ecosystem.

This is about seal products and products that are gaining notoriety around the world. There are many shops now on the east coast of this country, not just in Newfoundland and Labrador but also in eastern Quebec and les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, for example, where the sale of these products are going ahead, including the product that I am wearing right now, which actually belongs to my hon. colleague from Nunavut. I want to thank him for allowing me to wear his clothes.

Nevertheless, I want to point out that my friend from Nunavut also talked about the cultural significance. I think in many cases around the world when import bans are imposed on these products, as my colleague from Manitoba pointed out, they seem to gloss over the cultural significance of this as they seem to forget that the cultural significance is also tied into the economic well-being of that particular area. In other words, countries that say they will ban these products will have exemptions for cultural references or cultural ceremonies. Part of cultural references and ceremonies is the ability to partake in commerce for products, particularly with respect to fur and other products.

PhocaLux is a sealing operation in my riding, in the community of Fleur de Lys, that is now finding there is a greater market in seal oil than fur. It promotes and sells both because it seeks out full utilization of the animal. However, in parts of Europe seal oil was very popular before the ban came into place, and it is now achieving markets in Southeast Asia, which is another element that is a big part of this.

In conclusion, I am thankful to the originator of this idea. This bill originated in the Senate with Madam Céline Hervieux-Payette. I would like to end by thanking Céline for doing this. She is now retired; however, she can rest easy in retirement knowing that I truly believe she has done a noble service by providing a Canadian-made seal products day.

National Seal Products Day ActPrivate Members' Business

April 5th, 2017 / 6:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, NL

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I know that as a former minister of fisheries and oceans, you spent a lot of time on this issue, and I thank you very much.

The bill for a seal products day was sent to committee for discussion. I noticed during the meeting that it was as much about the culture of my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador as it is about the indigenous community across this country, particularly the Inuit of the north.

I am honoured to have my esteemed colleague from Labrador seconding this bill. She represents the greater part of the province. I want to thank her for her participation at the committee meeting.

I want to thank also the member for Nunavut. He gave a passionate speech at committee about his cultural and traditional ties with seal products in regard to art, food, clothing, and ceremonial purposes.

I recall the unveiling of a memorial in the town of Elliston some time ago. In the town of Elliston, the Sealers Memorial depicted how the massive hunt took place several hundred years ago on a very large ship. It was a large commercial hunt that began for several reasons. It was not just for the skins and the fur to keep warm, but also for the oils for fuel and so on, because in those days petrochemicals were not what they are now, so seal oil played a far greater role in society.

As I mentioned in the first part of my debate, the seal oil was shipped back to the United Kingdom, where it was used to light the street lamps in London. That was one of its first uses. It is ironic, of course, because London is where the genesis of the protests against it started. No offence to Londoners, and no reflection on the beautiful city of London, but nevertheless, it is a reflection on the issue that some people have over there.

Incidentally, the day that we are proposing matches up with the European Union's Maritime Day. I want to thank Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette, who was the genesis of this particular bill. I give her credit for several reasons, one of which is that she chose the date in line with Maritime Day in the European Union.

Members may recall that around that time, the European Union instituted a ban on seal products because of the cruel nature of how we harvested the seals. At that time, I thought it was fairly ironic. I introduced a motion in the House, which I have not brought back to the House, since my purpose was to make a point, which I think I did. My motion called on the Government of Canada to institute a ban on deer and boar products from Germany.

Why would I do that? The reason was to illustrate the point that the hunting of deer and boar throughout Germany is an unregulated hunt. Why is it unregulated? It is because the politicians do not want to touch it, and the reason they do not want to touch it is that it is tied into their culture and heritage. I have nothing against that, but I wish it was more regulated.

I am sure my ban would not have put the lederhosen industry in jeopardy. My motion illustrated the point that if we are going to talk about the harvesting of one particular animal as being cruel and offensive, then we have to open it up to all animals.

The seal hunt harvest in eastern Canada as well as the north is carried out in a humane manner, despite what people tend to think, and that was illustrated at committee. It is true that a few people disagreed with what we were doing, but we heard some great testimony, including from my colleague from Labrador and others, who talked about how they are tied to this particular culture.

There are two things at play here. There are two areas where we harvest the seals on a commercial basis. They are the gulf and the front. The front concerns my area, the northeastern coast of Newfoundland, up toward the area of my colleague from the Long Range Mountains, and up toward southern Labrador, and my colleague there. However, let us not stop there, because this is a pan-provincial issue. It also sustained the oldest city in North America, St. John's, as my colleague from St. John's South—Mount Pearl knows full well. He knows the history of the province and what the sealing industry meant to his glorious city, both cities as a matter of fact, and how it sustained us for so many years, probably 300 or 400 years.

Seal products day would be celebrated on the same day the European Union celebrates European Maritime Day. The reason the Europeans have Maritime Day is to celebrate their cultural heritage ties to what they do on the coastline. They have the seafood industry and other industries in Spain, Portugal, the Basque area, Ireland, and Scotland. They celebrate that day each and every year to talk about their ties to the ocean. By the same token, a month later, they protest the seal harvest here, which is why I congratulate Céline Hervieux-Payette for doing what she did. She wanted to point out the ultimate irony, which I think she has done.

It is one particular day, but as far as I am concerned, it is every day when we celebrate this, certainly for people in the north: Baffin Island, Northwest Territories, Yukon, of course, and particularly Nunavut. Again, I congratulate my colleague, the MP for Nunavut, who brought a very passionate speech and each and every day brings seal products into this House.

It bears mentioning again that when my colleague from Nunavut went to the United States of America, he met then president Barrack Obama with a seal tie on. I do not know if many people are aware of this, but many years ago, when Barack Obama was a senator, he actually wrote to the Canadian government protesting the seal harvest. Barack Obama is a great man. His was one of the greatest speeches I have ever heard in this House, but he is not perfect, I realized on that day.

That being said, I like to think that if we illustrate the issue of the harvesting of animals, then we shed more light on this subject. It does not end with the seal products. It is also other products. I mentioned seal oil. I mentioned the seal fur and the meat, of course. We are now hoping to open up markets in China. I have a company in my riding named PhocaLux that is doing some tremendous things in advancing seal products.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that I want to congratulate the provincial fisheries ministry of Newfoundland and Labrador. The ministry has done fabulous work regarding product development for seal products. I also want to congratulate the Government of Quebec, which has also been a fierce defender of seal products and the harvesting of seal products.

I forgot to mention that the gulf is the other area, which is situated toward the Îles de la Madeleine. There they have a thriving industry as well and for centuries have depended on seal products. Those are the mass commercial areas.

What is particularly ironic is that when they introduced the ban on seal products in the European Union, they said that the commercial stuff is what they did not want; it was the indigenous ceremonies we were to protect and the harvesting by the indigenous communities. They said this to my face. Without us in Newfoundland saying a word, the indigenous communities came back and said to them, “That is not fair, because for us to do what you say we can do, we have to have that commercial industry to do it”, to which they were met with complete and utter silence.

Since then, we have had challenges at the World Trade Organization, and we have had a great deal of support for that. In a spirit of good will, I want to compliment the former government for going to the WTO with that. The Conservatives fought fiercely for the rights of sealers, and they also fought for the rights of indigenous seal harvesters, so I want to congratulate them. I thought they did a great job at the time. Nevertheless, we still have some broad misconceptions out there and a lack of understanding.

It was pointed out to members of the European Parliament at the time, if it introduced a seal products ban, what would it do for the harvesting of other animals? I mentioned deer and boar by way of example. It did not have an answer for that at the time. It was the ultimate way of saying that we really have to study something before we step forward, that we should look before we leap, and the EU did not do that within the particular structure of Brussels. That is what happened, and that is why we challenged it at the World Trade Organization. What ended up happening was that the technical group of the committee of the environment that was studying this said that it could not really do this because it would create a slippery slope.

Let us face it, with the seal product ban in the European Union, which started in the member states of the Netherlands, Germany, and U.K., it was one thing to say they would not accept a product ban because of the species itself, the species had to be endangered. For example, bluefin tuna is an endangered species, so in many cases, we would ban these products if we felt they were in danger. We can talk about other products that are endangered, but this was not an endangered species. This was strictly done on the basis of cruel and unusual punishment to a particular animal.

However, steps were taken with the help of the provincial fisheries department. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada created a humane way of harvesting the seals. It was called a three-step process of killing the seals. That was put into place. In the same way that any abattoir, any harvester, any place that harvests domestic animals, like cows, chickens, and that sort of thing, all the same types of restrictions and regulations about the harvesting of such animals was applied to the seals.

Let us go back to what happened. It was far easier to put oneself on a pedestal of what was right for animal rights if one had a good product to sell. It was discovered, back in the 1970s, that it was easy to sell an animal with a very cute way of looking—

National Seal Products Day ActPrivate Members' Business

April 5th, 2017 / 6:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, NL

Yes, that's right, Mr. Speaker. Rex Murphy said the same thing, it makes for a good poster.

The seal face in the ocean, on the ice, the harvesting, the red on the white, if everyone knows what I mean, made a good poster, and that is the problem we had, because we never had a fair shake from the very beginning.

I will go back to why we are here, the seal products themselves. We have celebrated so much over the past little while. It is not just the products for wearing or consuming but art as well. We have seen some fabulous art created. My goodness, even in St. John's, there are some great seal products: jackets, hats, and so on and so forth. It is really quite elegant.

My colleague from Labrador makes a valid point. Let me return to the point of the seals used for a good poster. What happened back then, in 1987, was that, first, we were condemned for the killing of baby seals and seal pups. We recognized them as whitecoats. They still use them to make a good poster, and as a result of that, since 1987, we stopped harvesting baby seals, and that is where we stand today. That goes to the responsible part of it. My goodness, we have responsibly harvested seals more than so many other species that are consumed every day.

I will never forget the time a former senator went to Europe with us. He stood and said he could not believe Europe was condemning the harvesting of seals. He looked at everyone in the room and said that everyone had just eaten foie gras. If I were to tell members how foie gras is made, they would never eat it again, and they would be sick as we sit here. He brought up a good point. I am not condemning anybody who eats foie gras. I do not really like it myself and would rather sit down with a nice hotdog. It is probably the same kind of texture; it is just that one is pricier. The problem is that the lack of understanding, unfortunately, inhibits our ability to talk about things like fantastic seal products.

I encourage all members of the House to please support us on seal products day.

National Seal Products Day ActPrivate Members' Business

April 5th, 2017 / 6:50 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I know the member has long been an advocate for a very important industry, not only for one region of the country but many areas of the country. There is a great deal of understanding in terms of its importance, both socially and economically. I wanted to take this opportunity to applaud my colleague's efforts, because I know how important the issue has been to him over the years, and to my other colleagues in the Newfoundland and Labrador area.

Would the member give us a historical perspective of some of the things that have happened in the House with respect to the debate today?

National Seal Products Day ActPrivate Members' Business

April 5th, 2017 / 6:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, NL

Madam Speaker, my colleague is from an area that knows full well the traditions of harvesting seals out on the deep ocean of Winnipeg North. I am sorry, I do not mean to be sarcastic. The member's ability to be in the House, and to know every issue that is being talked about is laudable. He does know a lot about this issue and it astounds me. Nevertheless, that tells me that Winnipeg North is being served well, and Canada for that matter.

I forgot to mention that my colleague from northern Quebec is here. He knows full well how important this issue is and he celebrates it just like we do. It is tied to traditions that date back 500 years on the commercial side alone. Before that, we go back to the Beothuk of Newfoundland and Labrador who harvested this. Unfortunately, the Beothuk are no longer with us, but nevertheless seal harvesting played a crucial role to their survival as well, predating us of course.

When we look at the situation now, that is why seal products day means so much, because of the cultural and traditional ties that we aim to celebrate.

National Seal Products Day ActPrivate Members' Business

April 5th, 2017 / 6:50 p.m.
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Long Range Mountains Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Gudie Hutchings LiberalParliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Tourism

Madam Speaker, the subject debated by my hon. colleague and friend is something we are all passionate about. Could the member give the House an estimate of the number of seals on the east coast of our country? What does he think could be sustainable, and what does he think the impact of such a number of seals would be?

National Seal Products Day ActPrivate Members' Business

April 5th, 2017 / 6:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, NL

Madam Speaker, that is a valid point and my colleague from Long Range Mountains certainly shares in that tradition. As far as harp seals are concerned on the northeast coast, I mentioned the Gulf and the Front, there are 8 to 10 million harp seals, although I just received a picture from a friend who shows a polar bear eating a seal off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, so it is 8 to 10 million minus one.

Nevertheless, it is not a species in decline. It is not threatened or endangered, which is why some of the protests lack the sincerity and lack the information. That is why we have to fight with initiatives like this and talk about seal products. Again, not just for us on the east coast but for all indigenous communities and not just Canada. There is northern Finland, the Arctic Circle into Russia, Greenland, and even into western Alaska. For all of these indigenous communities, this is a big deal for them to celebrate their culture and traditions.

National Seal Products Day ActPrivate Members' Business

April 5th, 2017 / 6:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Madam Speaker, I am delighted to rise in support of Bill S-208, a bill to designate May 20 of each year as national seal products day.

I am so pleased to speak in this debate that I went to my closet this morning to retrieve one of my several sealskin ties. I realize that my hon. colleague from Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame sported a snappy bow tie when he introduced the bill that was passed in the other place, and is now here for consideration in the House. I have chosen a more substantial piece of neckwear, in square centimetres at least, wonderfully fabricated from the pelt of a harp seal.

I wear it because I am proud that the Conservative Party of Canada is the only party to explicitly state its support of the seal harvest in its official declaration. I recall fondly the first policy conference of our reconstituted party in Montreal in 2005, a conference that I attended as a journalist. The conference so impressed me that barely three weeks later I was a fledgling candidate for the election that followed, which elected the first mandate of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Members will recall that it took me one more try to join my Conservative colleagues in this House, but that is another story for another day.

The point I was making before interrupting myself was the construction of the sound Conservative policy platform I witnessed at that first policy convention in Montreal in 2005. The policy that was passed, now included in section 123 of the Conservative Party's policy declaration, states unequivocally:

We believe [the Conservative Party of Canada believes] the government must continue to support the Canadian sealing industry by working to eliminate unfair international trade bans on Canadian seal products.

Those unfair international trade practices have taken a terrible toll on Canada's sealing industry, which is a historically important cultural and economic driver in Canada's eastern Arctic and northern communities. It has been, for centuries, an integral part of Canada's rural culture, and a way of life for many thousands of Canadians. Indigenous people have a constitutionally protected right to harvest marine mammals, including seals, as long as the harvest is consistent with responsible conservation practices.

As recently as 2004, seal products in their different forms: meat; oil, which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids; pelts, not only sold as neckties but as jackets, coats, boots, slippers and mittens, all of these products accounted for about $18 million in exports to markets around the world.

Today, unfortunately, seal product exports amount to only several hundred thousand dollars, because of ill-informed, misguided, in some cases, blatantly hypocritical, discriminatory regulations, and outright bans.

In 2010, using justifications built on seal harvest practices that were outlawed decades ago, the European Union banned the import and sales of all seal products. The Fur Institute of Canada, along with successive Canadian governments, Conservative and Liberal, have countered the myths and misrepresentations with clear and accurate facts.

Since 1987, seals have not been hunted until they reach maturity. No other young animals receive the same preferred treatment. Lambs, pigs, calves, and chickens all are slaughtered before maturity.

I used the word myth advisedly. Let me offer a few of the classic myths about the seal harvest along with the realities. The most flagrantly argued and propagandized myth is that the Canadian government still allows sealers to harvest whitecoats, seal pups. In fact, that practice has been illegal since 1987, as is the harvest of adult seals during breeding or birthing times of the year.

Another classic myth is that seals are skinned alive. In fact, a 2002 study carried out by independent veterinarians proved that to be false.

Yet another myth is that Canada's traditional and commercial seal fishery is unsustainable and endangering seal populations. Again, this is absolutely false. Scientists and researchers at Fisheries and Oceans Canada have all the evidence. In fact, the seal population is very healthy and growing, in some cases in overabundant numbers that are seen to be threatening the recovery of overfished, depleted, saltwater, Atlantic groundfish populations, such as the cod.

Harp seals alone, for example, are said to consume more than 12 million tonnes of fish every year, the equivalent of more than 10% of the world's annual commercial wild harvest. As well, the overabundant grey seal population off the Maritimes is also a particular threat to Atlantic cod and salmon, and it is not because they are consuming all that they kill. In fact, the grey seal very often eats only a few bites of an 80 to 100 pound cod, leaving the large wounded fish to die and to waste.

It is also relevant to point out that since the European Union imposed its misguided, misinformed ban on seal product imports and sales, a number of EU member countries have actually authorized the culling of their own seal populations to protect their national fisheries. A spokesman for Canada's fur institute pointed out the cost of those contradictory policies several years ago, saying that the culls in Europe are both hypocritical and wasteful because the killed seals can only be used under EU laws for personal consumption, which is unlikely, and cannot be used as commercial products because of the EU's own ban.

There are two final myths I would like to address. One is that Fisheries and Oceans Canada, which we know well in this House by the acronym, DFO, provides subsidies for the seal hunt. Again, that is outdated. Sealing is, as many of my colleagues have argued, an economically viable industry. All subsidies were ended in 2001, and even that economic assistance was for market and product development. In fact, the Canadian government has provided far less in subsidies to the sealing industry than was recommended by the 1986 Malouf Royal Commission on Seals and the Sealing Industry in Canada.

The final myth that I would like to dispel this evening is that the Canadian seal hunt is rife with brutality and inhumane practices, and that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans does not adequately police or punish illegal hunting activities. The reality is quite the opposite. Fisheries enforcement officers conduct surveillance of the hunt by air and by sea, and with dockside inspection of landing vessels returning from the hunt. As well as this close monitoring of the hunt, infractions of the regulations draw severe penalties, which can include not only very significant fines, but the seizure and forfeiting of fishing vessels and their gear, of catches, and of the sealers' licences.

I know my time is short, so to wrap up, I would like to express again that across Canada's remote northern and coastal communities, sealing is an important traditional way of life and a critical source of income for thousands of families. The seal fishery contributes to the often inconsistent range of income sources in remote fishing communities, and in some years, seal hunt revenues offset poor catches in those other fisheries.

Bill S-208 would impose no direct cost to the federal government and would not create a legal holiday, but designation of May 20 as national seal products day every year would provide invaluable symbolic support of a legitimate, humane, and sustainable fishery. It would provide an annual opportunity for me and my colleagues to once again wear this tangible evidence of a historic past, a worthy present, and a highly sustainable future.

National Seal Products Day ActPrivate Members' Business

April 5th, 2017 / 7 p.m.
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NDP

Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to begin by saying that I am honoured to take part in the debate on Bill S-208, particularly because there are people in my riding, especially in Nunavik, who rely heavily on seals.

Over this past week, it has been obvious for us here in the south to feel the changes of spring returning to the land. For indigenous peoples, in our languages, the names marking the passage of time are interconnected with the environment and wildlife surrounding us. Our traditional cycles of yearly activities are closely tied to what the animals and plants are doing.

In Nunavik, for instance, this time of year is called Tirilluliuti, which is the season for bearded seals to have babies. How fitting that we are here at this time recognizing the importance of these animals to northern communities, as the member for Thornhill just said.

I would like to quote Sheila Watt-Cloutier, who comes from the community of Kuujjuaq in my riding. While writing about the social and cultural importance of the seal hunt, she said:

It's hard to describe the excitement that would flash through Kuujjuaq when word came that hunters were returning with a large harvest, like a seal.... Word spread from neighbour to neighbour, from house to house, and everyone headed to the home of the hunter.... Sitting or squatting on the floor, the men and women would begin to cut up the carcass with sharp knives or an ulu.... Everyone else, including the children, would sit circling the seal. Pieces of meat would be passed around...to eat.... The liver was one of my favourites. But the best moment was when we would [all] reach into the...seal and dip our hands, coating our scooped fingers with sweet, rich blood, which we licked off like honey.... Those precious moments, sitting on the floor with my grandmother and mother, my brothers and sister, my uncle and his family, and so many members of my community...were treasured times.

But the importance of country food to my community goes far beyond taste.... Country food is the fuel we need to thrive in the Arctic.

That passage comes from her book The Right to be Cold.

Besides her description of sharing with her community the product of a hunt, what I love about this memory is the message she teaches us, which is that Inuit need seal to thrive in the Arctic. Inuit hunt seals for food, clothing, and many other products, and they market the by-products of the sustainable hunt internationally today. Recognizing and honouring the Inuit seal harvest and products with legislation that would mark May 20 as national seal products day also recognizes and honours the traditional Inuit way of life.

Article 20 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples affirms the right to maintain and develop indigenous “political, economic and social systems or institutions, to be secure in the enjoyment of their own means of subsistence and development, and to engage freely in all their traditional and other economic activities.” For many Inuit, this means a continuation of the seal hunt, and the diversification of traditional uses toward commercial markets and new products.

Colonizing society, organizations, and governments violates that inherent right when it attempts to place misinformed restrictions on seal products, restrictions that have caused immeasurable harm to indigenous communities across the north. Inuit originally joined the commercial seal market due to pressures from colonization. They were herded into permanent settled communities and actively prevented from living traditional lifestyles. Sled dogs were shot by the RCMP. The Inuit people turned to the monetary economy to buy fuel for their snowmobiles and to survive.

The banning of products from the Inuit hunt caused economic devastation, and I can attest, personal humiliation among Inuit communities. The seal skin market is so important because it allows Inuit to maintain a piece of their traditional lifestyle, and in doing so, assert autonomy and control over their social systems.

Nunavik Creations is an example of the tremendous entrepreneurship in the north of my riding. The award-winning company employs Inuit women from various communities in Nunavik as seamstresses, designers, creative analysts, sample makers, pattern makers, and in administrative roles promoting Inuit culture through their unique garments.

Creating a day each year when all of Canada supports the inherent right that Inuit have to participate in the economy, take care of their families and communities, and thrive in this millennium would go a long way toward truth-telling and making amends for previous wrongs done to indigenous peoples.

Indigenous peoples, as stewards of their territories, have the obligation to care for the land and waters. For Inuit, the right to maintain and promote spiritual practices is closely connected to hunting seal. Throughout the Arctic, stories are told about an aquatic female character, sometimes called Sanna. She controls the sea mammals and determines the fate of surface dwellers. She is someone to beg when a hunter is hopeful, and someone to blame if a hunter fails. If we are to advance our understanding of Inuit-defined sovereignty, the first important entity we must recognize is the sea. In doing so, we must respect all Inuit practices connected to the sea and Sanna's children, the sea mammals.

The relationship between humans and seals, which has developed over thousands of years through precise observations while out on the sea ice waiting to harpoon a seal, while monitoring seal breathing holes, birthing dens, and migration patterns, is central to Inuit culture.

I am proud to stand in the House and say that I fully support Bill S-208, legislation that supports the inherent rights of the Inuit to maintain their social, cultural, political, and economic relationship to the seals, to Sanna, and to the sea.

National Seal Products Day ActPrivate Members' Business

April 5th, 2017 / 7:10 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I believe that the seal hunt is something people will have a better understanding of, in terms of what is being proposed, through education. As was pointed out by a Conservative member across the way, the designation of a day does not necessarily mean it is a holiday. However, it is a wonderful opportunity to ensure that there is a higher sense of education in terms of how important this industry is.

We often underestimate why the seal industry is so important. We can talk about heritage and the economic benefits. I would I like to spend a little time on those issues but also bring a bit of a different perspective on how important seals are to the north.

I have had many discussions about wildlife, in particular about polar bears and how they are very much dependent on seals, so there is a wildlife element.

I want to go to the economic and heritage sides. When we look at the communities that have been dependent on the seal hunt, we can get a better appreciation of the remoteness of the industry and what the individuals who are engaged in the industry have to do to sustain themselves.

We often take things for granted, whether it is clothing or food or economic survival. In larger municipalities, or even in rural areas, we can find grocery stores and economic opportunities. Once we get to the more remote areas, it takes a great deal of effort. I made reference to Newfoundland and Labrador, but it affects more than one province.

My colleague made reference to populations of between six million and eight million, minus the one that was possibly killed a little earlier today by the polar bear, as was referenced. There is a healthy population of seals.

We can think of the economic benefits. Without that seal hunt, there would be many communities whose existence would be more challenged. For others, it is their livelihood. Often it provides a supplementary income. Many individuals will be involved not only in the seal hunt but in other aspects of our fishery industry.

It is something that is often driven by heritage. Over the years, indigenous people, and even some non-indigenous people, have taken to heart the importance of the industry and the heritage aspect of it. As has been pointed out, it is something that has been going on for literally hundreds of years.

I look at it in two ways. One is from the heritage point of view and the other is the economics.

I started off by talking about education. Often, whether it is motions or legislation that will ultimately designate a day, and often even a month, we want to recognize something of significance for Canada. That really is what we are debating today. Bill S-208 would designate May 20 as a day when we would show appreciation of the importance of the seal hunt and seals to our country.

There are different ways we can deal with those designations. It is really going to be driven by members across the way. The member for Thornhill talked about his tie. We have seen a number of members around the House wear the seal tie. If we talk to members such as the member for Thornhill, they will express a sense of pride in the tie, because it is a very symbolic yet very important gesture that supports the seal industry. I know there are members of the Liberal caucus who have the same sort of seal tie. I am not part of that club as of yet, but I recognize that there is a very high sense of pride in those seal products.

My colleague from Labrador has brought seal meat to the lobby on occasion. I have had the opportunity to try some. I thought it was different, but interesting. I understand there are different ways of cooking it. I would not hesitate to try it again, perhaps cooked a little differently. I understand some people even eat it in the raw form.

The point is that there are ways we can celebrate the importance of the industry. I would like to think that we could even look at ways we could take it into a classroom. We can imagine how a school trustee, an MLA, or a member of Parliament could look at ways to highlight what we believe are important issues to the communities that we represent, even though, as my colleague pointed out, we do not see many seals around Winnipeg North. However, I recognize what it is and the industry as a whole, and I would love to see some class time dedicated by a teacher who has taken an interest in the industry, because it is about education.

There has been misinformation. We have heard that throughout the debate from individuals who really are not necessarily thinking of the well-being of the industry as a whole but are approaching it with a bias. The bias is to stop the seal hunt, not appreciating the heritage and the fact that we have a healthy seal population. There is not only a role for us to recognize the history of the seal hunt and what is happening today, but as has been pointed out, there is also a promising future.

When we talk about the importance of recognizing a single day, I suggest we allow members to appreciate it and recognize it in many different ways, from bringing it into the classroom to debating the issues and bringing them up in future S. O. 31s here in the House to sharing our ideas with members of the media. As with many different industries throughout the country, we need to appreciate and value those industries that have really touched the hearts and souls of so many, not only today but throughout the years. In particular, I focus on how important it is for our indigenous communities in recognizing and supporting the very strong leadership that has come to the table on this particular issue.