A Newfoundland Member of Parliament is proposing a National Seal Products Day be declared in Canada to promote the industry, tradition, and understanding of the harvest.

A Newfoundland Member of Parliament is proposing a National Seal Products Day be declared in Canada to promote the industry, tradition, and understanding of the harvest.
Photo Credit: CBC

A “National Seal Products Day” for Canada proposed

Almost two years ago, a Canadian Senator, Celine Hervieux-Payette, proposed creation of a National Seal Products Day in Canada

The day was deliberately proposed for May 20, the day that marks the end of the seal hunting season in Canada which runs from mid-March to mid-May. But it is also the day that the European Union celebrates its “Maritime Day”.

That bill originally S-224, became S-208 and has now made its way to the House of Commons where Liberal Member of Parliament Scott Simms from Newfoundland and Labrador has now sponsored the effort as a private members bill.

Listen
Federal Liberal Member of Parliament Scott Simms showing his sealskin bowtie. He has sponsored a Senate bill in the House of Commons to create a National Seal Products Day in Canada.
Federal Liberal Member of Parliament Scott Simms showing his sealskin bowtie. He has sponsored a Senate bill in the House of Commons to create a National Seal Products Day in Canada. © supplied

Use of seal for clothing and food by the Inuit in Canada, goes back millennia.

When Europeans began settlement of Newfoundland and along the shores of the Gulf of St Lawrence, they too saw the benefits that the seals could bring them.

However,  when the animal rights movement began several decades ago, the spectacle of killing of the baby seals was deemed horrible and a campaign against the Canadian hunt was mounted.

Suprisingly  little is heard or seen about the slaughter in Namibia and elsewhere though.

While warm coats, mittens, boots and hats remain traditional items made from sealskin, Nala Peter’s creations of bra and panties show the possibilites outside the norm. She makes bras, corsets, tank tops  and more.
While warm coats, mittens, boots and hats remain traditional items made from sealskin, Nala Peter’s creations of bra and panties show the possibilities outside the norm. She makes bras, corsets, tank tops and more. © Justin Wonnacott for AXENÉO7

This anti-sealing campaign eventually led to a ban on seal products from Canada which collapsed the market for seal fur and products and caused severe economic harm to small coastal communities throughout Newfoundland, parts of Quebec like the Magdelene Islands, and of course to many Inuit communities.

In the meantime the seal population has grown to several million animals.

For decades seal skin has been popular in the making of Scottish sporrans made by many companies in a variety of styles
For decades seal skin has been popular in the making of Scottish sporrans made by many companies in a variety of styles © via tartantown.com

Scott Simms says a National Seal Products Day would help re-invigorate the seal industry and provide needed extra income to many in remote communities and indigenous groups. He also says it could help dispel many myths still prevalent regarding the seal harvest.

Although private members bills seldom make it through the long process into law, Simms says he has fairly wide support and expects this very well could become an officially recognized day.

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Posted in Animals, Economy, Environment, Indigenous, International

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