Last week we posted a story from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that Elizabeth May, the new leader of the Canadian Green Party was looking to change the Party's position of opposition to the annual Canadian seal slaughter.
The story set off a flood of protests to the Green Party of Canada.
Unfortunately, at the time, Elizabeth was unavailable for comment because she was attending meetings in Europe. She has now returned and has refuted the story.
We should have known that something was wrong when we noticed that the story originated with the CBC which Captain Paul Watson has referred to for years as standing for "Controlled By Canada."
The CBC story was headlined "May softens Green view of seal hunt."
The Green Party contacted Sea Shepherd and said, "Please be assured that both Elizabeth May and the Green Party support phasing out the commercial seal hunt. The CBC report is misleading and Ms. May's remarks were taken out of context."
"I was shocked by how my CBC interview was summarized. I want to assure members that I never told the CBC I wanted our seal hunt policy changed", said Ms. May.
Any member of the Green Party may put forward a resolution for debate at a policy convention. Policy resolutions are adopted or rejected after open and democratic debate. At the August 2006 convention, members supported the party's policy to phase out the seal hunt.
Elizabeth May, as the leader of the Green Party, would not have changed a policy of the Party without democratic input and a democratic decision made by the members of the Party.
We should not have been surprised by the CBC.
The CBC has never been unbiased in their coverage of the annual massacre of harp seals. Way back in 1983, when a CBC film crew came onboard our vessel the Sea Shepherd II for the seal campaign, they were ordered off the ship by the government of Canada - and they complied.
Then Canadian Minister of Fisheries Pierre DuBane publicly said, to summarize, "The CBC coverage of the Sea Shepherd was totally insensitive and outrageous and the CBC as a crown-owned corporation has no right reporting on a group of protesters whose objectives were counter to the government's and that by so doing, CBC had insulted the Newfoundland seal hunters."
The CBC crew director Bill Donovan left our ship angrily saying, "Our job is to report the story and you are the story and we are doing our job in covering your side of the issue. We sure as hell cover the government's side of the story."
The CBC then took out a full page ad in the St. John's Telegram to apologize to the Newfoundland people for having had a media crew on our ship.
"I don't have a great deal of respect for the CBC," said Captain Paul Watson. "They are a propaganda arm for the Canadian government similar to Voice of America or the former Radio Free Moscow of the Soviet Union. They have always been hostile to any group opposing the seal slaughter and they have always defended the Canadian government's position. With the CBC, it's all the news that the Canadian government approves to be aired."
Sea Shepherd is satisfied that the Green Party of Canada is committed to a position of opposition to the horrific annual slaughter of seals.
"This is not just a humane issue," said Captain Watson. "Seal populations are now less than 10% of their numbers from 500 years ago when Europeans first conquered Newfoundland. Since then the Newfoundlanders have exterminated the Newfoundland wolf, the Labrador duck, the giant auk, the walrus and even the indigenous Beothuk peoples. They have a history of ecological destruction and genocide. Last year, Newfoundlander Anne Troake produced a Canadian National Film Board film supporting the seal hunt entitled "My Ancestors were Rogues and Murderers."
The film's title was meant to be sarcastic but Anne Troake cancelled her debate with Captain Paul Watson in Newfoundland after Captain Watson said that the title was appropriate. "Her ancestors were indeed rogues and murderers and the extermination of numerous species and the genocide of the Beothuks is the evidence that the title is appropriate."
The Canadian and Newfoundland governments are now defending the vicious slaughter of over 350,000 seal pups each year out of a stubborn pride stating that Newfoundland culture will be endangered if the seal hunt is abolished.
"There is no need in the 21st Century for cultures based on slaughter and cruelty," said Captain Watson. "If Newfoundlanders need blood to perpetuate their culture they should go the way of the Aztec, the Romans and the Cannibals of Borneo - their culture should be abolished."