Manitoba MP defends trapping after RCMP mull phasing out muskrat hats

A Manitoba MP passionately defended the trapping industry Tuesday after the RCMP said it was phasing out its fur toques in favour of more animal-friendly head gear.

A Manitoba MP passionately defended the trapping industry Tuesday after the RCMP said it was phasing out its fur toques in favour of more animal-friendly head gear. 

"When I heard about the RCMP planning to phasing out muskrat fur hats I was extremely upset," said Conservative MP Robert Sopuck, who represents Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette.

By the end of the day, the Conservative government went over the heads of the RCMP and reversed the move. 

The RCMP said it would switch from its iconic fur hats after the Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing Animals said muskrats caught in traps can be left suffering from dehydration, starvation and predators before they die.

But Sopuck defended trapping Tuesday in the House of Commons.

"I represent a remote, rural constituency and many of my constituents trap," he said. " As an ecologist, which is my training, one needs to only look at the trapping industry to realize it is without a doubt the most sustainable industry in the country."

Sopuck said endangered animals are never trapped. 

"Trapping represents the only economic activity that is available and provides people in remote locations with the dignity of work," he said. "I'm a passionate defender of the trapping industry, of the fur industry and indeed most or all of Canada's natural resources industries which is the constituency I represent."

Sopuck said he was pleased with the government's decision that will see the RCMP continue to wear muskrat toques.

"The RCMP’s decision to phase out the use of the iconic muskrat fur hat was disrespectful to our Canadian heritage, and hurts thousands of hunters and trappers in our remote and rural communities,” Sopuck said on his website. “This decision, if allowed to stand, would have had negative repercussions right across Canada.”