Commentary by Paul Watson
Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
The election of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has turned bad into worse. The government of Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin was bad, but Harper makes Martin look like a saint.
Canada was taking a leadership role in fighting global warming and was one of the first nations to sign the Kyoto Treaty on Climate Change. Martin did not really do much to actually deal with climate change but at least his government appeared interested and they did have a budget for it. Harper, on the other hand, has rejected Kyoto completely and has slashed the budget. The Conservatives have decided to slash spending on
Environment Canada programs designed to fight global warming by 80 per cent, and wants cuts of 40 per cent in the budgets devoted to climate change at other ministries. The part of the budget they did keep was to cover the salaries of the bureaucrats who will now be working on issues they have no funding for. But firing civil servants in Ottawa is as unthinkable for the government as ending the slaughter of seals.
Meanwhile, a German film crew working on a documentary on climate change was prevented from leaving the airport with their helicopter from Cartwright, Labrador, after a mob of seal hunt supporters assaulted them and sat on the pontoons of the helicopters to prevent them from leaving.
Once again, lawlessness is being given free reign on the East Coast of Canada as the fabled Mounties turn a blind eye to violence on the Eastern Coast of Canada.
Rosetta Holwell, the mayor of Cartwright, said she didn't accept the group's claim it was there to film a documentary about climate change. "I think the people in Cartwright have some concerns [because] there's a lot of people from Cartwright that are out sealing right now," said RCMP Cpl. Mark Hancock.
In other words, intimidation is justified when it comes from pro-sealers. Rebecca Aldworth and her crew with the Humane Society were also in Cartwright and were unable to fly out. They retreated to Blanc Sablon, Quebec, on the Labrador border where they were assaulted again, this time a truck rammed a van carrying seal defenders and reporters.
Defending seals in Eastern Canada is a risky crusade. A seal defender is forced to enter hostile territory without any guarantee of police protection from violent defenders of sealing.
It has now been revealed that the quota for seals in the Gulf was exceeded by over 16,000 animals. Yet, not one sealer was arrested for violating the quota.
It also appears that Canadian politicians are going a little medieval in their behaviour. Labrador Member of Parliament Todd Russell, a Liberal MP, has got himself a sealing license and is at the Front killing seals himself. I guess his hefty salary as a Federal
politician is not making ends meet and he needs to pick up some extra cash.
Russell is a prime example of how sealers kill for pleasure and not for necessity.
Defending his killing spree, Russell said, "I couldn't find a better way to support the people that I represent than to be out there with them in some concrete way, in some way that they could understand," Russell said before the hunt began.
The question must be asked, when did you last see a Member of Parliament flipping burgers, delivering the mail, working construction, or selling newspapers?
Russell said he will be bringing back seal flippers to cook up and serve to his fellow Members of Parliament in Ottawa.
Ahh, the Great White North where elected politicians sit around and gnaw on the flippers of seals like a bunch of ignorant savages as they brag to the world about what a wonderful sport it is to kill baby seals.
I have to say it is pretty damn embarrassing to be a Canadian these days. We have a Prime Minster who believes the world is only 4,000 years old, denies global warming, and thinks killing seals is a national pastime and heaps of fun.
Mahatma Ghandi once said when asked about Western Civilization, "I think it would be a great idea."
I wonder what he would have said about Canada where a national identity is being forged over the act of inflicting gross cruelties upon innocent creatures and where violence against those who champion life is encouraged by both politicians and police.