Canadian senator proposes nation-wide “seal products day”

Canadian senator Celine Herviex-Payette in Iqaluit, Nunavut in 2010. (Radio Canada International)
Canadian senator Celine Herviex-Payette in Iqaluit, Nunavut in 2010. (Radio Canada International)
A Canadian Senator wants to promote Inuit, and other community seal hunting here in Canada, in light of the ongoing difficulties caused by a European Union ban on seal products, and general public misconceptions about the seal hunt in this country.

The Honourable Celine Hervieux-Payette is the member of the Canadian Senate who is proposing the idea in Bill S-224, “An Act respecting National Seal and Seafood Products Day.”

The day is 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”.

Radio Canada International’s Marc Montgomery spoke to Senator Hervieux-Payette to find out more about the seal ban and why she feels the bill is so important.

To listen, click HERE 

On the Senator’s website, a text reads,

“In a difficult economic climate in which the legitimacy of the seal harvest has been opposed by lobbies who succeeded in getting the European Union to boycott Canadian seal products and delaying the opening of the Chinese market for these products, National Seal and Seafood Products Day would be evidence of the Parliament of Canada’s unwavering support for this activity and for people who make their living harvesting marine resources. National Seal and Seafood Products Day will be an opportunity to celebrate our coastal communities, to pay tribute to their hard work and draw attract the attention of Canadians to quality “Made in Canada” products”

The Senator points out that seal hunting, for the food and the manufacturing and selling of products, such as seal fur clothing, is a heritage tradition and very important source of additional income for Inuit and in other coastal areas of Canada, notably in Quebec and the maritime provinces, especially Newfoundland and Labrador.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Inuit leaders blast EU seal ban as appeal underway in Geneva, Eye on the Arctic

Greenland: What the EU seal ban has meant for Inuit communities in the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: European Sealskin Ban Affects Sámi Handicraft Workers, Radio Sweden

United States:  Landmark Alaska subsistence decision stands, Alaska Public Radio Network

Marc Montgomery, Radio Canada International

With a passion for anything antique with an engine, and for Canadian and world history, Marc comes with a wealth of media experience. After DJ work at private radio in southern Ontario, and with experience in Canadian Forces radio and tv in Europe, the state broadcaster in Austria (Radio 3), and the CBC in Ottawa and Montreal, he was the host of the immensely popular CBC and RCI show, "The Link". He is now part of the new RCI online team producing stories from and about Canada from coast to coast.

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