Third reading of Bill C-555, An Act respecting the Marine Mammal Regulations (seal fishery observation licence)Published on 16 June 2015 Hansard and Statements by Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette (retired)
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette:
Honourable senators, obviously, I am going to support Bill C-555, which is a step in the right direction. However, I would like to remind my colleagues that we could have taken two or three more steps to increase the authorized observation distance in order to better protect our seal hunters and prohibit helicopter noise, which disturbs fishing activities.
I would have also liked to see provisions added to the bill to prohibit cameras because they are being used to spread negative publicity about Canada and the seal hunt throughout the world; to make it mandatory for every observation boat to have an inspector aboard; to increase the cost of the observation licence to $200, which is more appropriate than the $25 or $50 that is currently charged; to create a program to address the issue of defamation in the use of images of seal hunters on an ongoing basis; and finally to prohibit any observation by creating a reserved hunting area during the hunting season.
Despite all that, I am going to support the bill, and I invite my colleagues to vote in favour of it as well. We are dealing with this issue in a rather half-hearted way. The fact that these people are still having difficulty carrying out their trade is not exactly keeping us up at night.
I hope that the next step will offer seal hunters better protection and that the government will issue more hunting licences since not very many are being issued right now. That is why I will close by saying that I am going to vote in favour of Bill C-555 and I invite you to do the same.