Not With My Vote

Not With My Vote

A federal election will be held in Canada on Monday, May 2, 2011, and one issue most candidates do not wish to discuss is the Canadian commercial seal hunt. At this very moment as the election campaign progresses, hundreds of thousands of seal pups aged 12 days to three months are being slaughtered by non-native fishermen on the ice flows off Newfoundland. The Government of Canada is subsidizing the hunt to the tune of millions of dollars a year through Coast Guard support, overseas trade missions, and most recently, a World Trade Organization challenge to the European ban on seal product imports. The WTO challenge alone will cost $10 million to rescue an industry worth only about a million dollars a year. Meanwhile, the boycott of Canadian seafood organized by the Humane Society of the United States is costing the Canadian fishing industry additional millions.

All four political parties currently represented in parliament support the hunt in the hope of winning a few additional votes in Atlantic Canada. For their own advantage, they are willing to waste taxpayer money on a dying industry while severely damaging Canada’s international reputation. Here in Nanaimo, British Columbia, both sitting members of parliament, Jean Crowder of the NDP and James Lunney of the Conservatives, support the hunt. Last election I voted for Jean but I won’t be doing so again this time.

I urge everyone reading this to ask the candidates where they stand on the seal hunt. They could try to confuse you by suggesting the Inuit are involved, but this is untrue. Please follow this link to the official Fisheries and Oceans Canada website to see for yourself that only 6,840 of the 400,000 harp and hooded seals being taken this spring have been allocated to aboriginals. Politicians may claim the hunt is not subsidized by government, but they are lying. If you’re told the hunt is humane, ask yourself, do you really believe the mass clubbing and skinning of helpless seal pups on remote ice flows before the horrified eyes of their mothers by unsupervised fishermen can ever be humane? Seals are sentient beings, like dogs and cats. Would you think it humane for stray dogs and cats in your city to be clubbed and skinned just to earn a few dollars from their fur? Why is it any different when it happens in restricted areas far from the public eye?

When deciding how to vote in this election, please ask yourself this: Are you prepared to vote for someone willing to kill for convenience? If you want to determine the true moral stature of a politician, ask them where they stand on the commercial seal hunt. Yes, this election is important, but we must not lower our standards by accepting the lesser of two evils. Anyone who will lie about something like this will lie about anything. Is that the sort of person you want representing you in Ottawa?