Independent M.P for Avalon, Scott Andrews was on his feet in Question Period in the House of Commons on Tuesday regarding the the confiscation of a seal purse from a Corner Brook woman by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Mr. Scott Andrews (Avalon, Ind.):
Mr. Speaker, a woman from Newfoundland and Labrador recently had her sealskin purse confiscated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection because seals are on the endangered species list in the United States. She is now forced to pay a $250 fine for trying to take her purse across the border.
Seal products are becoming more and more popular. It has been documented and scientifically proven that the northwest harp seal population is healthy and abundant and is not an endangered species.
Could the minister tell the House the last time the government has had discussions with American officials with regards to having seals removed from the endangered species list in the United States? Will the minister ask the United States to remove this ban immediately?
The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans failed to answer the question. Instead she replied "government remains rock solid in its support of the Canadian Seal Industry"
Late today, Rob Moore, minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency released a letter to the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection asking that the sealskin purse be returned and that border agents stop confiscating seal products from Canadian citizens challenging the outdated U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Looks like Andrews questions sparked some action.