Foie gras, exactly. I wonder if they have actually seen how that is prepared, or the muskrats of France, or the pheasants, or the boar, or the deer, or the chickens. It goes on and on.
To be completely frank, when humans take an animal out of the wild for consumption, it is never a pretty sight, but this is not about the semantics of how a seal is killed. This is about the livelihood of people who have a right to earn a living. They have a right to feed their families. They have the right to take a sustainable resource which is in no way in danger, not even close to being in danger.
My hon. colleague from South Shore—St. Margaret's was absolutely correct when he talked about the explosion of grey seals on Sable Island. Two things could happen with those grey seals. There will either be a natural massive die-off from a disease among themselves, or we are going to have to cull them, which means they sink to the bottom of the ocean and become lobster bait or crab bait. There are no market systems at all. There is no opportunity to earn a livelihood or to utilize the entire animal, just an out and out cull, an out and out slaughter. It is insane, but this is exactly what is going to happen if we allow the EU to do this.
The hon. parliamentary secretary asked for some recommendations. I would ask him to ask the minister to immediately convene an all-party committee, as soon as humanly possible, to go to Europe and to press upon the EU and the ambassadors that this has the unanimous support of the House of Commons. I will not get into what a member of the Senate has done. That is just fighting among ourselves.
The reality is we should immediately send to Europe an all-party committee with members of industry as well and explain to the Europeans the consequences of their actions. I know it has been done before. I have been here since 1997, and my hon. colleague has been as well. From former minister Anderson right to the current minister have all been supportive of the seal harvest, whether they be Liberal or Conservative. As a member of the NDP I have watched both parties fully support the seal harvest. There has been no difference in that.
I know Loyola Sullivan. He has worked very hard on this issue. David Bevan, the ADM of fisheries, has worked very hard on this issue. It is the number one issue on the files of the current minister. I understand that. Unfortunately, all these efforts have not been successful. The old adage is to never allow facts to get in the way of a good story, and this is what has happened here.
The unfortunate part is that it is too bad Canadians could not see what happened here tonight. Literally every member from the east coast and Quebec was here tonight, including the minister and the parliamentary secretary. Members from the five provinces and Nunavut were here tonight to talk about this very serious issue.
I have watched take note debates, as has my colleague from South Shore—St. Margaret's, for over 12 years. I do not think we have seen this type of representation on an issue as important as this one for a long time, in an effort where we all collaborate and work together. This is how Parliament should be working when we have an issue that affects us all. I tell all Canadians, if they think the east coast is just about Newfoundland and Labrador, well they are next.
A former Liberal member, Murray Calder, is a chicken farmer. There was a complaint about the de-beaking of chickens. I remember that very well. What is next: de-beaking chickens, branding cattle, a hook and release of fish? What is next? They will not stop. If it is seals today, it will be regular fishing practices tomorrow. It will be regular poultry products, pork, cattle and everything else the next day until, in the end, we will all be eating lima beans and tofu. There is nothing wrong with lima beans and tofu. They give me gas, but that is okay.
Historically, this is a vitally important industry to our country. Imagine anyone in the world saying that there will be an exemption for Inuit and northern products of seals to the EU. Imagine walking around Amsterdam or Brussels wearing a seal vest and seal gloves. We would say that they are okay because they were caught by a native hunter. Oh sure, that will work. We could have a big sign on the back that says the pelts were aboriginally caught and harvested. It does not work that way.
This will do exactly what the 1982 ban on the leghold trap did when I lived in the Yukon. It will literally destroy the lives of people. People have been living on that sustainable industry for hundreds of years. I lived in the Yukon when that happened. It was devastating to those people, because that is what they did for a living. Their forefathers did it, their fathers did it and they did it, but all of a sudden someone over in Europe with no connection to them at all took away their livelihood literally overnight. What was the cost of that? It cost the territorial government an awful lot of money.
If the government is not successful in getting this decision turned around, we will be telling the government that those people will require compensation. That means the average Canadian taxpayer will have to get into their pockets to support these people who, by the way, were supporting themselves. That is the tragedy of all of this. These people are earning a livelihood, and may I add that it is not the safest livelihood in the world. Every time they get on the boats or on the ice, they are risking their lives. Why would they do it? Why would they participate in this very dangerous activity to provide for their families? Because that is what they know. That is what they do. They are proud of their heritage. They are proud of their traditions.
I have seen a tremendous amount of sealers over the years. I have worked with members of Parliament on all sides to promote this activity in a sustainable manner and a humane manner.
We were on the coast guard vessel with the committee a couple of years ago. We were with veterinarians. The veterinarians told us exactly what happens with a hakapik or a rifle when a seal is shot or clubbed.
No sealer, in my opinion, wants to see an animal suffer, but this is their traditional industry. They have a right to this industry. I can assure the House and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the minister and my colleagues in the House that they will have our support in defending the interests of the good people of eastern Canada.