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More Empty Promises? Some Skepticism about Mac Harb’s Argument to End the Seal Hunt

March 25, 2009

Corwin has weighed in with an interesting post on the Canadian seal industry. In my view, Mac Harb’s argument is unconvincing. If Harb is so sure that the commercial seal hunt is dying, then why is he so quick to want pull the plug? Why not let the industry play out, and allow a more natural generational shift in community custom (in both Aboriginal and Eastern communities) and industry evolution, rather than the shock of shutting it all down?

Have we seen this story before? Years of failed federal leadership (ie: to defend the seal hunt against disinformation campaigns) and, when things get too difficult, politicians proclaiming eastern industry “so marginal” that its better for “Canada” to shut it down, forcing people out of community and jobs? Ah yes, we have. Despite (meager) federal assistance programs, many outpost communities in Newfoundland and other rural areas have never recovered from the shock of the cod moratorium.

I am no lover of the seal hunt, but as an Atlantic Canadian who grew up in the midst of failed federal fisheries policy, I have a bullish sense of skepticism that soapboxers like Senator Harb are going to make good on promises to “transition” commercial sealers into “sustainable industry”. But shut it all down? Yes, sir. It’s in our National Interests.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Patrick Ward permalink
    April 5, 2009 12:17 am

    It is an awful stain on Canada’s image, and people around the world are starting to hate Canada for it. Once it is shut down, that hatred will go away.

  2. March 27, 2009 7:56 am

    I’ve often wondered if perhaps the fundamental problem with the seal hunt from a policy perspective might be that it exists in a sort of weird limbo between hunting and fishing.

    Sealing falls under the aegis of Fisheries, which is why the humane dispatch of the seals has only been a relatively recent concern. Nobody cares about the pain and suffering of a fish, after all. It could be considered as a hunting activity under MNR… except we don’t have market hunting in this country any more. It’s probably closer to fur trapping… except the meat is consumed as well.

    No answers – just an observation.

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