Ryan Cleary

MP, St. John's South—Mount Pearl

I will not back down from any issue: Cleary

January 24th, 2012 - 6:19pm


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 www.CBC.ca/nl  January 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.”

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