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.