What About That Seal Hunt?

The seal hunt flap with the EU has certainly got the Inuit and Newfoundlanders riled up and Harper, seeing an opportunity to win back their hearts, is “vigorously” pursuing the matter with legislators in Europe. After all, clubbing baby seals to death is as Canadian as...I don’t know...shooting gophers?

It is one of those issues that most Canadians don’t talk very much about. It isn’t that most of us don’t have an opinion but no one really wants weigh in about an issue that they are not sure about. I have never seen a poll about the issue but I would bet that most Canadians, not unlike the Europeans, would rather see it put to a stop.

I am never sure how I feel about the issue.

· On the one hand I am prepared to accept that the seal hunt brings a much needed source of income to those who eke out a living in Newfoundland’s small outports. Stop the spring hunt and there isn’t really much of an alternative when it comes to putting bread and butter on the table. Everyone can’t go to work in Fort Mac.

· On the other hand, I think it is time to move on. I have lived my life so far without much need for seal skin really. The last thing I can remember having that was made of seal skin was an Ookpik from EXPO 67.

It is one of several issues that I just don’t feel comfortable with, like allowing trophy hunters, foreign or domestic to kill polar bears or big horn sheep. There is an economic impact inherent in stopping any of those practices but isn’t it time to phase this stuff out. We aren’t really a society of hunter-gatherers any more. The seal hunt’s days are numbered like the corner store, the family farm or door to door milk delivery.

Seal hunters, like the rest of us, want a roof over their heads and the ability to feed their families. They want to feel like equal partners in confederation, not just the tag end. Perhaps Harper, and to be fair previous governments as well, should have concentrated a bit more on regional economic development. As usual Ottawa is too late into the game.

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