CSA members and supporters of our industry for a sustainable seal hunt say they are mystified that there is a EU leaders Summit in St. John’s today between our prime minister Justin Trudeau and trade officials from Ottawa taking place while there is currently an unjust and unfair import ban of seal products currently enforced by the European parliament.
We here at the CSA had tried to arrange a display of sealskin crafts to show at the event with informative displays on how we train sealers, retail products and producers and retailers, and crafters and the history of sealing as part of our heritage and culture. But we received a very short reply from Harry Burton an official in charge of this meeting, citing security being an issue. Unbelievable to say the least our products would be seen as a security threat? He states:
Thank you for reaching out regarding the upcoming Canada–EU Summit in St. John’s, NL and possibilities around vendors being able to showcase products in the designated areas. Unfortunately, there will be no vendors at any portions of the summit activities for security reasons and this is a decision made by security officials.
Harry Burton: Director of Operations Office of the Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister
Implemented by the EU in 2009, the trade ban on seal products, based on ethical concerns put forward using propaganda methods by animal rights activists has deprived thousands of seal hunters in Eastern Canada of their most important market.
Gil Thériault, the head of the association representing Quebec’s seal hunters, told CBC planning two days of bilateral meetings in Newfoundland and Labrador, “the very place Ottawa abandoned,” and not bringing up the seal products ban “sends a message of complete disregard for people in coastal communities.”