Friday, February 19, 2010

Gail Shea Has Failed to Perform Her Duties. She Must Step Down.

The seal hunt in Canada is a very contentious issue, especially when it comes to the pups.

Protest groups are growing and since the industry only provides a portion of the annual income of fishermen, could there not be an alternative to something that is continuing to tarnish our reputation?

I'm all for protecting culture and livelihood, but where do you draw the line?

Early in 2009, Liberal Senator Mac Harb drew up a private member's bill which would have effectively ended the commercial seal hunt on Canada's east coast. The bill never made it to the Senate floor because it was not seconded.

Now remember, this was for the end of the 'commercial' seal hunt, and had nothing to do with the culture of the Inuit people.

So as fisheries minister, did Gail Shea sit down and maybe offer an alternative to the seal hunt, or find out what inspired the bill? Of course not.

Like a true Reformer she saw a way to turn it into a partisan issue, so on DFO letterhead, and with OUR money, she fired off an attack ad, not just on the Liberal senator, but on the entire party; claiming they had a 'hidden agenda'.

Then if that wasn't enough, Conservative Senator Fabian Manning (Preston Manning's cousin), who had just lost his bid for re-election, and was given a patronage appointment by King Stephen, did the same. If you're going to waste OUR money you might as well tag team.

The U.S. Humane Society says this of the seal hunt.
It is important to note that each killing method is demonstrably cruel. Because sealers shoot at seals from moving boats, the pups are often only wounded. The main sealskin processing plant in Canada deducts $2 from the price they pay for the skins for each bullet hole they find—therefore sealers are loath to shoot seals more than once. As a result, wounded seals are often left to suffer in agony—many slip beneath the surface of the water where they die slowly and are never recovered.

The Eurpean Union agreed and placed a ban on all trade of seal products:

Europe moved today to halt the clubbing to death of hundreds of thousands of seals every year, when MEPs voted overwhelmingly to ban trading in seal products, hoping that the collapse of the market will drastically reduce the massacre. The decision to outlaw virtually all trade in seal products was directed mainly at Canada, where the yearly cull kills around 300,000 seals, a practice condemned by many as barbaric.

So by now you would assume that there would be some serious discussion on the viablity of the industry, right? Nope. Gail was determined to flog this stuff somewhere, so off to China she went.

Canada's fisheries minister courted Chinese officials in a bid to secure new markets for the country's controversial seal industry as other nations shut their doors on the maligned products. Gail Shea and several Canadian sealing companies paraded a collection of sealskin fashions, seal oils and medical uses for seal organs at the International Leather and Fur Show in Beijing on Tuesday.

If only she'd put half this much effort into protecting wild salmon, maybe Canada's fisheries would have a chance.


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