In dealing with the Canadian Department of Fishy Business this year, Captain Paul Watson decided to draw on Uncle Remus and the story of Bre'r Fox and Bre'r Rabbit.
The first part of Watson's strategy was to take on the role of Br'er fox and to send the Farley Mowat and her crew into the Canadian Gulf of St. Lawrence as the legendary Tar Baby. The crew of the Farley Mowat were instructed to not say a word and to remain outside the twelve mile limit in the ice where the sealers were operating. A European ship in international waters with a European crew. All the legal bases had to be covered and they were. To ensure that a record of the ship's movements was kept, the ship's GPS unit was programmed to keep a record of all ship's positions for the entire voyage.
The next part of the plan was for Captain Watson to not be on the ship so as to remove himself as the excuse for a boarding party because of his Canadian citizenship. The crew were to maintain radio silence and Captain Watson would make controversial statements from shore to goad and manipulate Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn to act rashly and to respond emotionally - which he did.
Hearn took the bait and got himself stuck into the Sea Shepherd strategy by doing the one thing we most wanted him to do - we provoked him into sending an armed boarding party illegally onto a foreign ship in international waters.
It was brilliant and he fell for it.
At the same time he utilized Bre'r Fox's tar baby strategy, Captain Watson also incorporated Bre'r rabbit's strategy into a plan that took into account the psychology of Canadian Minister of Fisheries Loyola Hearn and the bizarre regulations of the Canadian government in defending the slaughter of seals.
In Canada under the "Seal Protection Regulations" it is illegal to witness, photograph or film a seal being tortured or slaughtered.
Anyhow onto our story:
One day Captain Paul Watson decided to imitate Bre'r Fox and cast Loyola Hearn in the role of Bre'r Rabbit. Hearn had been destroying the fisheries and killing hundreds of thousands of seal pups and strutting his arrogance all over Europe until he'd come to believe that he was the lord of the sea. Watson thought of a way to lay some bait for that uppity Loyola Hearn.
Watson went to work with his ship and painted it black. He transformed his ship the Farley Mowat into a tar baby. When he finished making it, he put a crew of European sailors at the helm and placed the ship in the middle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence outside the Canadian twelve mile territorial limit. Then he stood on shore to see what would happen.
Well, he didn't have to wait long either, 'cause by and by Loyola Hearn came to the defense of the seal clubbers with a yappity, yap, yappity yap political mumbo jumbo mumbling - just as sassy as a jaybird. Captain Watson laid low and watched. Loyola Hearn sent his fish feds prancing along until they saw the Tar-Baby Farley and then they radioed back like astonished bureaucrats they are. The Tar-Baby Farley just sat there, it did, and Captain Watson laid low.
"You're in violation of the seal protection act by witnessing a seal being killed," says Loyola's goons. "Leave Canadian waters," they ordered.
The black Tar-Baby Farley didn't say a word, and Captain Watson stayed low.
"Did you not hear me, you must leave this area?" says the fish feds again.
Captain Watson, he winked his eye real slow and lay low and the Tar-Baby Farley and crew didn't say a thing.
"What is the matter with you then? Are you deaf?" says the fish feds. "Cause if you are, I can holler louder," says they.
The Tar-Baby Farley and crew stayed still and Captain Watson, he lay low.
"You're eco-terrorists, that's what's wrong with you people. You're a bunch of outsiders come to interfere with our God given right to torture and kill baby seals," says the fish cops. "And we're going to arrest you if you don't stop taking pictures of baby seals being clubbed and skinned alive," says they.
Captain Watson started to chuckle in his stomach, he did, but the Tar-Baby Farley and crew didn't say a word.
"I'm going to teach you how to take orders from us politicians if it's my last act," says Hearn from his comfy desk in Ottawa. "If you don't do what we tell you and surrender yourself to us, I'm going to bust you all," says he.
The Tar-Baby Farley and crew stayed still and Captain Watson remained low.
Loyola Hearn and his bully boys kept on asking the Tar baby Farley crew why they wouldn't talk and the Tar-Baby Farley crew kept on saying nothing until Loyola Hearn lost his temper in a fit of bluster and drew back his fist, he did, and blip--he hit the Tar-Baby Farley ship with an icebreaker. But his political fist stuck and he couldn't pull it loose. Sea Shepherd had him in a media vise and held him. And the Tar-Baby Farley crew stayed still, and Captain Watson, he continued to lay low.
"If you don't submit to our authority, I'm going to ram you again," says Loyola Hearn, and with that he slammed another ice-breaker into the Tar baby Farley --he hit the Tar-Baby Farley crew with another blow and the other hand stuck fast too.
The Tar-Baby Farley crew stayed still, and Captain Watson watched and he lay low.
"Surrender your ship, before I kick the natural stuffing out of you," says Loyola Hearn, but the Tar-Baby Farley crew just carried on sailing through the ice.
Then an angry Loyola Hearn jumped the Tar baby Farley crew with both feet and sent in a heavily armed SWAT team to board and seize the ship. And Captain Watson, he lay low. Then Loyola Hearn yelled out that if that Tar-Baby Farley crew didn't submit, he was going to charge her captain and first mate and rough up a few of her crew.
Now firmly politically embedded into the Tar baby Farley, the fishy feds headed into port with their tar baby firmly stuck to their reputation.
Captain Watson then popped up from down south and strolled into Sydney, Nova Scotia, looking as innocent as a mockingbird.
"Howdy, Loyola," says Watson. "You look sort of stuck up this morning," says he. And he rolled on the ground and laughed and laughed until he couldn't laugh anymore.
By and by he said, "Well, I expect I got you this time, Loyola," says he. "Maybe I don't, but I expect I do. You've been around here sassing after me a mighty long time, but now it's the end, you've made the perfect political fool of yourself.
And then you're always getting into subsidizing and defending something that's none of your business," says Captain Watson, says he. "Who asked you to come and strike up a conversation and harass this Tar-Baby Farley and her crew? And who stuck you up the way you are? Nobody in the round world. You just jammed yourself into that Tar-Baby Farley without waiting for an invitation," says Watson. "There you are and there you'll stay until the truth explodes in your face and the evidence exposes you for the pirate you are," says Watson.
Now this is the part where Captain Watson changes roles and takes on the strategy of Bre'r Rabbit.
Then Captain Watson started talking mighty humble.
"I don't care what you do with me, Loyola" says he, "Just don't board and arrest my Tar baby Farley and her crew out there in international waters," says Watson.
Loyola said, "If you don't surrender I'm going to send an armed boarding party to seize your ship," Loyola says he, "I expect I'd better hang you by your ears," says he.
"Hang me just as high as you please, Loyola," says Captain Watson, "but for the Lord's sake, don't board my ship and arrest my crew," says he.
Of course, Loyola wanted to get Sea Shepherd and Watson as bad as he could, so he sent his fish fed and red-coated bully boys armed to the teeth to board the Farley Mowat and to arrest her crew. There was a considerable flutter when the storm troopers came onboard and Loyola smiled in glee in anticipation of being the hero to the sealers.
By and by Loyola heard someone call his name and looked onto his television screen to see Watson smiling. Then Loyola finally realized he had been tricked.
Watson hollered out, "Thanks for boarding my ship and arresting my crew, now you're stuck with the Tar baby Farley and we've gotten the publicity we need to help pass the legislation in Europe to ban the obscene and cruel products of the seal slaughter."
And thus Loyola Hearn did what Captain Paul Watson wanted him to do by acting like it was the last thing that he wanted to do. Hearn got angry and started swatting and every time he opened his mouth he made a fool of himself and became more politically stuck to a story he is going to have a hard time getting rid of.
Now does Sea Shepherd want our ship Farley Mowat back? We said we don't because by saying we don't, Hearn will think that we really do. But then again he may believe we really do want it back because he thinks that we are trying to fool him into believing that we don't want it back to force his hand to give it back. But we could be saying that we don't want the ship back in order for Loyola to think that we do and then he will think that by holding onto it, it will hurt us because we really do want it back. But what if he's wrong and we really don't want the ship back and then he confiscates it, although it is bizarre to think of confiscating an entire ship as punishment for taking pictures. What a conundrum of a puzzle this must be for him. Do they or don't they?
One thing for sure, it will be a damn interesting legal case and we are confident that the evidence will exonerate us and expose Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn as the reactionary opportunistic fire a decision from the hip without thinking doofus pirate wannabe that he is.
Oh Canada, welcome to the Briar Patch.