image: Sharon Firth and Francois Rossouw meet with Speaker of the House of Commons Geoff Regan
OTTAWA, Dec. 6, 2018 — The Canadian fur trade delivered a clear message about the huge positive impacts of natural fur during the annual Fur Day on the Hill 2018 held Dec. 4 in Ottawa.
The event, organized by the Fur Institute of Canada (FIC) in partnership with the International Fur Federation (IFF) brought together trappers, hunters, farmers, scientists, industry professionals, designers, retailers, auction houses and others engaged in the trade from across the country and gave them an opportunity to meet with their Members of Parliament (MP), Senators, Ministers and department officials to discuss key issues.
This year the event was headlined by Northwest Territories Olympic skiing legend and Order of Canada recipient Sharon Anne Firth, who served as an ambassador for Fur Day on the Hill. The AKlavik-born four-time Olympian who was recently added to a series of stamps from Canada Post, was able to meet with numerous Members of Parliament and Senators. She spoke to the importance of the fur trade to her personally, to the indigenous and rural communities and all Canadians.
She was also officially recognized by Speaker Geoff Regan in the House of Commons, and presented to the Indigenous Senators working group about the importance of the fur industry past, present and future.
“Fur is who we are in this country. It’s the story of the north and it is the industry that created the Canada we know today,” Firth said, adding that she would like to see Olympic athletes today have a choice if they wish to wear fur at the games. “Natural fur is beautiful, sustainable, eco-friendly and we have the best animal welfare and management in the world. We should be proud of our connection to the land and natural fur.”
FIC Chair Jim Gibb said the event is a chance for the industry to show parliamentarians the benefit fur brings for the environment, culture and heritage, and rural and Indigenous communities and livelihoods in Canada.
“This is the industry that started it all for this country and its people,” Gibb said. “And today it remains a huge contributor to the everyday lives of Canadians who want natural products, a clean environment and sustainable resource development and management.”
Long-Range Mountains MP Gudie Hutchings recognized the fur industry in the House of Commons and identified the tremendous economic impact that the fur industry has had for all Canadians, especially rural, coastal and indigenous communities.
“(This is) an industry that contributes over a billion dollars a year to our economy and that directly employs almost 60,000 Canadians. And those jobs aren’t in our traditional manufacturing areas, our high-tech hubs or our cities. They’re found in largely rural, coastal and indigenous communities,” MP Hutchings said in a prepared statement read Dec. 4.
“What’s more, it’s a sector that has experienced an impressive 20 per cent growth rate over the past five years.,” she added, referring to the increase in the number of licensed trappers in Canada.