MPs urged to wear pins to support seal industry
The federal fisheries minister is encouraging all members of parliament to show their support for Canada's embattled sealing industry by wearing a lapel pin made from seal fur.
Keith Ashfield issued a statement saying the pins would be made available Thursday in the House of Commons.
Ashfield, a New Brunswick MP, says sealing is a way of life for thousands of Canadians on the East Coast and in the Far North.
The minister's appeal comes as the centuries-old commercial sealing industry is on the verge of collapse as international markets dry up.
In December, the federal government confirmed that the world's largest buyer of Canadian seal products -- the Russian Federation -- had banned importing harp seal pelts.
The European Union banned importing seal products in 2010, and the federal government has failed to deliver on a promise to open the Chinese market to Canadian seal meat.
Liberal Senator Mac Harb said the Conservative government should be declaring the industry dead rather than staging a photo op.
"The Conservative government is ignoring Canadian opposition to the commercial hunt and has turned a deaf ear to the international community and its boycott of commercial seal hunt products," Harb said in a statement released Wednesday.
"Instead of working towards a buyout of sealing licenses, the government is offering sealers only hollow promises of non-existent seal trade agreements with China, a doomed challenge of the European Union ban at the WTO, and another photo op on Parliament Hill."