Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, over the weekend, three Nunavut communities hosted Prime Minister Chretien and German Chancellor Kohl. The people of Cape Dorset, Pangnirtung and Iqaluit are to be commended for their hospitality and the way they provided the Canadian and German delegations with a brief but memorable experience of life in communities and on the land in Nunavut.
However, even before it started, the visit to the Arctic by these two world leaders was seen as an opportunity to present a very important message to both Canada and Europe. Mr. Speaker, Members are aware that in recent months, the federal government has been taking an aggressive role at the international level in defence of the Canadian fur industry. The visit to Nunavut by Germany's Chancellor provided both Canada and the NWT with an excellent forum to reinforce our messages, particularly with respect to the devastating economic effects of the European ban on sealskin imports and further damage which the proposed ban on leghold traps will have on the traditional harvesting economy.
Mr. Speaker, in personal conversations with the Prime Minister and Chancellor Kohl, I was assured that both will continue to take steps to bring some common sense to the way in which their governments deal with decisions on the fur trade. Members should also be aware that the Chancellor gave a number of interviews with the German press in which he expressed concerns about the impact of the animal rights/anti-trapping lobby on the traditional harvesting economy of aboriginal peoples. In addition, the Prime Minister advised that he spoke personally to European leaders about the fur issue at the recent Halifax G-7 summit.
One other important product of the Nunavut visit was the exposure that Baffin Island and the Northwest Territories received on national and international television during the last four days. Moreover, having millions of people around the world hear Chancellor Kohl promote the environment, cultures, people and communities of the Arctic is an unexpected bonus for our tourism industry.