Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Eye of the spin storm

From animal-rights groups to the Harper Conservatives, my recent comments to John Furlong of the CBC's Fisheries Broadcast regarding the seal hunt have been spun into an unrecognizable, twisted mash.

I released the following statement to the media on Tuesday, Jan. 24th.

I will not back down from any issue: Cleary

St. John’s – NDP MP Ryan Cleary (St. John’s South-Mount Pearl) released the following statement to clarify misleading comments in the media concerning his position on the Newfoundland and Labrador commercial seal hunt.

“On Sunday I was asked in an e-mail by John Furlong, host of the CBC’s Fisheries Broadcast, to clarify the NDP position on the seal hunt.

He asked whether the NDP is changing its position on the hunt or proposing there be a buyout of licences, ‘Someone is telling me that the NDP might also (along with yours truly!) be sensing that the writing may be on the wall,’ Furlong wrote.

Furlong interviewed me and I made it clear that the NDP stand has not changed.

The party and I are in full support of the commercial seal hunt – period. I then reacted to Furlong’s column (Death on the ice: Time to pull the plug on the seal hunt? John Furlong Jan. 21, 2012)

Furlong begins his article with the statement, ‘There's no question in my mind that the commercial seal hunt is probably on the way out. So does anyone care?’

The answer is yes. Of course everyone in Newfoundland and Labrador cares.

We cannot hide behind the debate and pretend that the market for seals is not in trouble.

Markets for seal products are closed in the United States, the European Union, and Russia.

It is also unclear what is happening in the Chinese market. Facing this reality head on is the only way to address this situation.

The debate about the future viability of the industry is a worthy one and it needs to happen.

It can only be a good thing as we chart a future course for our overall fishery.

Having this debate does not signify in any way an end to the hunt – we simply need to start talking.

For too long, simply raising the seal hunt issue has been taboo. It shouldn’t be.

I will not shy away from any issue as a federal MP.

I will continue to embrace all sides of every argument in the interest of healthy and reasoned decision making.

There may be room to negotiate a better deal for our fish products generally.

Let me re-iterate, I am not proposing to ban the commercial seal hunt in any way.

If we don’t do things differently, we will end up with the same result every time. We can’t be afraid of the conversation.”



stephen said...

What I want to know is how or why ending the seal hunt would benefit the province? What's the point in even talking about ending it?

Gina said...

I think the point that Ryan is trying to make is that there may not BE a choice involved here. Market forces seem to be dictating that the end of the hunt is an inevitability.

Yes, there are people whose livelihoods still rely significantly on the seal hunt, but as with the whaling industry, if there is no longer a market for the product, we shouldn't be propping it up with government money.

I am known among my peers as being a vociferous defender of the seal hunt when it comes to the misinformation that is spread by animal rights activists. I fully support the right of anyone who wants to continue hunting seals to do so. BUT, when "the arse is gone out of" the market, it's time to face reality.

Defending the seal hunt may have become a losing battle. Sometimes you just have to accept reality.

Gina said...

Now, all of that being said, I have to also say I'm taking more than a little delight in seeing Ryan get a taste of his own medicine when it comes to having his words twisted by a journalist... :-)

Sharon said...

The seal hunt is so unpopular in the rest of the world that Canada is subject to trade embargoes because of it. If the economic viability of the seal hunt can't be recovered, it would benefit the Canadian economy - and the provincial economy, by association - to end it.
Thank you for bringing this up as a topic of conversation, Ryan. You're a brave man.

JeffW said...

It's a question that bears asking if we want to keep our heads up. Thank you Mr. Cleary for having the guts to not provide the knee-jerk reaction that most NL & Canadian politicians would have. Your track record alone proves that you're looking out for our better interests both short- and long-term.