OTTAWA - The federal fisheries minister is encouraging all members of Parliament to show their support for Canada's embattled sealing industry by wearing a lapel pin made from seal fur.
Keith Ashfield issued a statement saying the pins would be made available Thursday in the House of Commons.
Ashfield, a New Brunswick MP, says sealing is a way of life for thousands of Canadians on the East Coast and in the Far North.
The minister's appeal comes as the centuries-old commercial sealing industry is on the verge of collapse as international markets dry up.
In December, the federal government confirmed that the world's largest buyer of Canadian seal products — the Russian Federation — had banned importing harp seal pelts.
The European Union banned importing seal products in 2010, and the federal government has failed to deliver on a promise to open the Chinese market to Canadian seal meat.