Loyola Hearn, the Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, stooped to an all-time low this week when he told European Fisheries Commissioners in Belgium that any plan to ban seal pelts in Europe would dishonor the many Canadians who died liberating Belgium and the Netherlands from the Nazi's.
The Newfoundland Member of Parliament said an import ban on seal pelts would amount to "taking the livelihood away from a number of Canadians whose family members left their blood on the fields here in Belgium, Flanders fields, and other places.
"That got their attention,'' he told St. John's radio station VOCM.
"I've sort of challenged them to look for the truth, for the facts, and to visit Canada to make up their own minds. Don't base their decisions on ... what they heard and seen from lobby groups who are using 20-year-old videos.''
Hearn said he raised the issue of the seal hunt after he learned that members of the Belgian Parliament were in the process of introducing legislation to ban the importation of seal products.
"This is an insult to the majority of Canadians who are opposed to the cruel and ecologically destructive slaughter of seals," said Captain Paul Watson, Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. "My father was a veteran of the Blackwatch. He fought in Korea. I am named after my Uncle Paul Watson who died escorting convoys in the North Atlantic during WWII. My father's father fought in World War I. My mother's father fought in the Boer war and all of them were opposed to the killing of seals."
Farley Mowat, the International Chairman of Sea Shepherd fought in Italy all the way up to the Netherlands and into Germany. He is a passionate opponent of the seal slaughter.
"Mr. Hearn is not a veteran of World War II and has no right to be putting words into the mouths of the dead. That is grossly disrespectful. The man should be ashamed of himself for dishonouring Canada and Canadians with such ignorant insensitivity.
"He is using the sacrifice of courageous Canadians who died defending freedom as a means to justify the mass slaughter of harp seals." said Captain Watson. "Has this man no decency?"
The seal population is less than 10% of what it was when Europeans first landed on the shores of Eastern Canada. The Canadian Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans wiped out the Northern cod through incompetence and they have mismanaged every commercial fishery in Canada.
"The fish need to be protected from the Fishery bureaucrats, not from the seals," said Captain Paul Watson
Sea Shepherd is confident that Europeans will not be swayed by the cheap shots taken at the expense of Canadian veterans by this opportunistic right-wing Newfoundland politician.
Mr. Hearn's reference to 20-year-old films is a gross lie. The footage being distributed as evidence of the cruelty of the slaughter was taken as recently as this year.