Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for the opportunity to sit in front of you and talk to you.
For me, it's an honour to be able to come here to put a face on a trapper. You probably don't know a lot of trappers. If you're lucky, you might. I know that Robert knows a few. On the other hand, I would say that most people don't really know trappers. We exist in every community in Canada. Part of our income every year is made from trapping.
Canada is a world leader in trap research. The tools we've developed in Canada are basically manufactured here by little wee shops. I know of one in Kapuskasing that makes LDL traps, and trappers right across Canada use them. They're even bought and used in the U.S. and copied. There are all kinds of traps. Bélisle traps and Sauvageau traps are made in Quebec. Rudy traps are made in Quebec. Koro traps are made in Manitoba. These are just little shops that produce the tools we use in our trapping industry. We've been able to do this because of the contribution by our federal government to trap research. We've been doing trap research for 20 to 25 years.
As a trapper, I can sit here in front of you and honestly tell you that the tools I used when I first started—I've been trapping for approximately 35 years—are not the tools that I use today. I've been very fortunate, in that I've been able to travel to many different communities in Canada, teaching trapper education and promoting the trade. I've been to probably just about every community in Dennis' riding in the Northwest Territories, such as Colville Lake, Fort Resolution, and Fort Smith. I've probably been to every little community. I've also been up in Nunavut doing different things.
It's all about continuous education. What we need our government to recognize is that we provide a service. It's mainly done in rural areas, but in the off-season, my job is to trap racoons. On my route, I leave Milton in the morning, go to Burlington and then down to Niagara Falls, and then over to Kitchener and back into Milton. There are probably seven or eight of us who do that every day. I don't want to say who we work for, but it's basically done so that the lights stay on in your house every day. I think you've seen the story in the Toronto Star a few weeks ago about Toronto being the “racoon nation” of North America. Toronto is one of the busiest places that we work out of.
Anyway, just to bring it back, what we need as trappers is access to world markets. We also need regulations that are based on science and sound judgment and not about emotion. We need to have the continued support of our government so that they understand who we are and what we do.
When markets are high, as Rob was saying, the fur trade takes care of itself, but when the markets drop off, you have issues with beaver and issues with coyotes. Trappers are always there and playing a role. Sometimes my role is going to be for the fur trade, and sometimes my role is to help society deal with problems, and we try to do that as cost-effectively as we possibly can.
Again, I'd like to thank the committee for the opportunity to come here and share that with you today.