October 5th, 2020
LETTER: Urgent Support for Manitoba Trappers Needed
Dear Minister Joly,
The Manitoba Trappers Association of Northwestern Manitoba is worried about the prices of furs and their ability to market their products due to COVID -19. Fur tables in Thompson, Manitoba, bring buyers and fur harvesters together every December for the sale of furs. Fur sales at these tables bring thousands of dollars to the trappers all across Manitoba and parts of Northern Saskatchewan. I am writing to urge your government to provide support for trappers many of whom are First Nations and Métis, who depend on these fur tables during this difficult time.
Due to COVID-19, the Trappers Association has raised several concerns, as the current public health emergency and economic consequences have serious consequences on their ability to maintain their livelihoods.
Of major concern is the depressed price of furs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downfall. Their prices are depressed for several reasons, but primarily due to the lack of competition from buyers, as those from outside Canada are not able to attend the fur table sales. Furthermore, the events in which fur tables are held are compromised due to COVID-19 restrictions. This uncertainty has negatively affected the prices of furs.
Many Trappers across the North depend on the sales of their furs at these tables every year to make their living. Assistance has been offered to other industries, but the fur industry, a major economic lifeline in Northern Manitoba, seems to be forgotten and requires attention and action.
MP Niki Ashton