Nunavut MLA floats EU booze boycott

Fred Schell likens Europe Union to apartheid South Africa


It’s not fair for the European Union to ban the import of seal products when Nunavut’s Liquor Commission continues to order wines and spirits from the 27 EU member countries, Fred Schell, MLA for South Baffin, said in the Nunavut legislature March 4.

Schell planned to introduce a motion in the legislature March 5 to ask Nunavut’s liquor commission to stop purchasing wine and spirits from the EU.

Speaking March 4 in the legislature, Schell pointed out that South African wines had been subject to a similar boycott from Canada and other countries before its apartheid regime fell in the 1990s.

“When the South African government was still discriminating against blacks, Canada and other countries took a strong message by boycotting the sale of South African alcohol in Canadian stores,” Schell said.

Schell asked whether Keith Peterson, the minister responsible for the liquor commission would “send a strong message against the EU ban against seal products by introducing a ban against the alcohol.”

First answering that the liquor commission orders its products from the south, and that, as far as he knew, “there is no specific demand to not buy those products,” Peterson then suggested Schell could introduce a motion in the legislature.

“We can debate it, we can do it here,” Peterson said, generating applause among all the MLAs.

The EU ban, which came into effect Aug. 20, 2010, offers an exemption to furs hunted traditionally by Inuit from Canada and Greenland, but bars them from large-scale commerce in skins, oils or meat in the 27 EU member nations.

Canada and Norway then launched a formal battle against the ban, by making official complaints to the World Trade Organization, the group which sets the rules for world trade.

European liquor products available from the Nunavut Liquor Commission include Scotch whisky brands like Glenfiddich and Johnny Walker, imported beers from the Heineken and Stella Artois firms, French bordeaux wines like Chateau Latour, and Irish products like Guinness stout.

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