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Monday, July 27, 2009

Harper puts Day on shaky ground in opposition to EU ban on seal products

While government negotiated trade agreements are always political, banning a legal product due to the objections of a noisy lobby group could open the floodgates to more politically-inspired trade restrictions where not even a misguided case is made for economic protectionism.

That’s a good argument against the European Union's (EU) decision today to ban seal products.

If consumers in the European Union object to Canada’s seal hunt, and many of them do, they should continue with their boycotts. No action by the EU is necessary.

Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade, is prepared to take this issue to the World Trade Organization and is fiercely defending Canada’s seal hunt.


Sadly, though, Day is on shaky ground – not because his argument is weak, but because Canada is guilty of the same practice.

The Conservative government recently passed Bill C-32, an initiative by Prime Minister Stephen Harper which bans flavoured tobacco products already prohibited for use in Canada by minors.

This has U.S. tobacco growers – hard working people with families to feed – crying foul. Kentucky tobacco growers, in particular, are lobbying desperately to scrap the legislation before it is passed by the Senate. The Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association says the legislation could lead to the devastation of “an entire segment of the American tobacco growing community."

Day argues that the EU ban on seal products will “serve no purpose other than to damage the livelihood of coastal and northern Canadians and their families.”

He's right. And if the Conservative government had more commitment to trade and to the livelihoods of families south of the border, he might be in a better position to defend Canadian sealers.

If seal products are banned by the EU, don't blame PETA; blame Harper and his decision to pander to anti-tobacco lobbyists and to indulge his own authoritarian impulse.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on July 27, 2009 | Permalink


Apples to oranges doesn't begin to cover this one.

Posted by: 4341241 | 2009-07-27 12:54:56 PM

Day rightfully argues that the EU ban on seal products will “serve no purpose other than to damage the livelihood of coastal and northern Canadians and their families.” But does Hareper realy care about anyone else besides his own and his friends good welfare?

Posted by: Who cares | 2009-07-27 1:52:08 PM

Gloss it over as much as you want. Bottom line, the majority of the public in Canada, U.S. and Europe do not want the hunt to happen. If idiots like Stockwell Day and the Fisheries minister cannot see the writing on the wall they have been utterly blind of the events leading up to the EU ban. If the hunt is as humane as they say it is, drop the media ban on the hunt and let photographers, and video crews document it and then we'll let the public decide with a referendum, like a deomocratic society SHOULD run.

Posted by: Skull Bashing is not a career | 2009-07-28 12:02:19 PM

To the previous comment claiming that the public is against the hunt; this is completely misleading. Most Canadians are in favour of the hunt (as evidenced by the fact that the Governor General's popularity soared when she ate a peice of a raw seal heart) and the only reason that many American and Europeans oppose it is that they have been fed misinformation by animal rights groups that would ban all use of animal products if they could.

And as for media access to hunts, the media ARE allowed to observe the hunt but must stay a prescribed distance from hunters to protect them from violent animal rights extremists mascarading as media. Also, I wonder how open EU and US slaughterhouses would be to the idea of the media recording how they slaughter cows, pigs, horses, and other animals. I doubt they would allow it either, but that doesn't mean I think we should ban all meat.

Posted by: R. | 2009-07-29 12:33:20 PM

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