Wildlife protection groups are expressing concern about an effort among Members of Parliament to trade for votes on two commercially driven wildlife kills that are a stain on Canada’s international reputation.
During a recent parliamentary committee meeting, some Conservative and Liberal Members of Parliament openly discussed trading political support for the commercial slaughter of seals in Atlantic Canada for support for the British Columbia grizzly bear trophy hunt. Specifically, Mel Arnold, Member of Parliament for North Okanagan—Shuswap, requested that Labrador MP Yvonne Jones, Newfoundland MP Scott Simms and former Canadian Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo “stand beside BC members who might be in support of the bear hunt in the same way (the BC Members) are supporting your traditional seal hunt.”
In a race to the bottom on animal welfare efforts, Manitoba MP Robert Sopuck then bragged that he had “led the charge against Bill C-246.” Bill C-246 is a private member’s bill that was defeated in 2016 and would have made modest improvements to the animal welfare provisions contained in the Canadian Criminal Code (laws that have remained largely unchanged since 1892).
In response, Humane Society International/Canada and Pacific Wild stated:
“It is reprehensible for Members of Parliament to collude to generate political support for two globally condemned wildlife slaughters. It is just as appalling to witness elected officials celebrating efforts to block vital animal welfare reforms that the majority of Canadians supported,” said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI/Canada. “MPs should be working on behalf of Canadians to protect our wildlife from the significant threats of habitat loss, climate change and commercial exploitation. Instead, these officials are working to facilitate the killing of our wildlife for fashion, trophies and entertainment.”
“Outrageous,” said Ian McAllister, executive director of Pacific Wild. “MP Mel Arnold should be ashamed of himself for trying to sell out the interests and values of his own constituents in British Columbia, it is well known that over 90 percent of BC residents are adamantly opposed to the grizzly bear trophy hunt and want to see it banned. His suggestion of trading support for the slaughter of wild animals is disgraceful.”
For the full transcript of the Committee meeting click here.