The domino ef­fect of no seal­ing in­dus­try

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

If you are a New­found­lan­der liv­ing in an out­port, which I am, who has taken his liv­ing over the years di­rectly from the sea, you must be frus­trated to the point of bang­ing your head off the wall.

For the past 14 years, I have taken 100 per cent of my em­ploy­ment from the seal­ing in­dus­try. The past 14 years have no doubt had its good and bad years. When it comes to the seal­ing in­dus­try, let’s take a look at why we are where we now find our­selves.

To say there are no mar­kets or that peo­ple don’t want our seal prod­ucts is a false state­ment. The prob­lem is free­dom of choice. Let me ex­plain what I mean by that. If I walk into a store, let’s say a cloth­ing store to buy a new coat, I am of­fered a se­lec­tion to choose from. It is my choice to then se­lect a coat that I feel good about.

I try on some coats and find one that looks and feels good, but there’s some­thing I don’t like — it was made in China or some other coun­try. I don’t buy it. Why? The rea­son is that I would rather sup­port a Cana­dian prod­uct. So I put the coat back on the rack and se­lect a prod­uct made in Canada and feel good about what I’ve done.

Did I do any­thing wrong? No. I made a choice and that choice was mine. The big thing is the fact that I had that choice and that’s what’s wrong with re­gards to seal furs. It’s not that peo­ple don’t want it. It’s that peo­ple aren’t given the choice.

Cus­tomers in the EU or Rus­sia that may buy a seal skin prod­uct are not given the op­por­tu­nity to make up their own mind be­cause their gov­ern­ments have made the decision for them, and that’s wrong.

Why is it wrong? It’s wrong be­cause of the fact that Canada holds trade agree­ments with these same gov­ern­ments. Our seal skin prod­ucts should be given the same op­por­tu­ni­ties as other prod­ucts which are traded be­tween our coun­tries. The only rea­son that seal prod­ucts are the tar­gets is be­cause of the deep pock­ets of an­i­mal rights groups whom have feath­ered their nests and be­come ex­tremely rich and pow­er­ful through lies and pre­sen­ta­tion of mis­in­for­ma­tion per­tain­ing to the har­vest­ing of seals.

These deep pock­eted ac­tivists/ter­ror­ists have scammed mil­lions of dol­lars over the years on the backs of seal­ers. They are on a mis­sion of con­trol and one of the things they want to con­trol is the con­sumers’ right of choice. Through the fill­ing of the right pock­ets, the greas­ing of cer­tain hands within these gov­ern­ments, and a very rich ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign, they have man­aged to im­pose bans on seal prod­ucts.

So to say there are no mar­kets for seal prod­ucts is false. If the con­sumers of these coun­tries were given the choice, I would say there are no mar­kets and re­spect their choice.

So where do we go from here and what can we do? The pro­vin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments are the only ones with the power to change this. Some­times you have to make a stand on prin­ci­ple no mat­ter how big or small the prob­lem. What that means in my opin­ion is re­tal­i­a­tion on these coun­tries in the form of a prod­uct ban on a prod­uct near and dear to their hearts and econ­omy, while we wait for the court chal­lenges to pro­ceed.

The fact is, if this were a ban on some­thing else like wood prod­ucts, the gov­ern­ment would have al­ready made its stand and this prob­lem wouldn’t be here to­day. The fact that it’s only lit­tle old New­found­land with only a small hand­ful of MPS sit­ting in Ot­tawa, it’s no big deal.

The fact is, there is a trade agree­ment in place be­tween our coun­tries, and it should be lived up to and our gov­ern­ments are the only ones that can fix this.

With re­gards to the an­i­mal rights groups, they should be tar­geted for what they are and treated as such — ter­ror­ists. In­ves­ti­gate their fi­nan­cial ac­tiv­i­ties, and take away any rights they have to go to the ice. Charge them for fundrais­ing on lies and mis­truths within Canada. In gen­eral, make life very dif­fi­cult for them and hit them where it hurts — in the pocket.

What’s at stake here? Seal in­dus­try jobs only? Far from it. Fish stocks are prob­a­bly the big­gest thing at stake in all of this. These seals will shut down ev­ery fish­ing en­ter­prise along Canada’s east coast, one species at a time, and de­stroy a world food source. We won’t have to worry about ship­ping un­pro­cessed fish out of the coun­try; there won’t be any.

If you look up the num­bers on what seals are tak­ing/eat­ing, you will find they take/eat more fish from our coastal wa­ters yearly then all boats and com­pa­nies put to­gether. Some­thing has to be done. We can harvest them and process them, or we can cull them from which no one ben­e­fits. The fact of the mat­ter is that this seal pop­u­la­tion has to be con­trolled.

In clos­ing, I say one thing to both lev­els of gov­ern­ment. How all this ends de­pends on you. This is a fight that can’t be won by in­dus­try peo­ple alone, and the stakes are very high, as I’ve tried to point out above. For God’s sake, stand up and be no­ticed be­fore this in­dus­try is gone and in turn our fish­ery along with it.

Tony John­son writes from Catalina

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