Once again this year the Canadian Senator Mac Harb has attempted to introduce legislation to end the commercial seal kill in Canada. Harb made waves last year by being the first to propose legislation to end the seal kill in Canada. Harb’s motion actually got seconded this year, by a Progressive Conservative Senator named Lowell Murray, but the rest of the Senate blocked the bill from making it any further.
Here’s Harb’s page from the Senate of Canada website, where he provides some background information about the seal kill. And here’s a few snippy little soundbites from Mac Harb, courtesy of Maclean’s magazine, where he says he’ll be watching to see who eats the seal meat served to Canadian politicians.
On the same topic of ending the seal kill in Canada, I finally got my new screen print finished & printed. It’s entirely appropriate to publish it today, I guess, since it’s an international day of protest against the seal kill. If there hadn’t been so much overtime at work I would have gotten it done sooner – which would have been better. Oh well. Here is the design:
I’m having a little trouble photographing them today, forgive the unclear image. And the color is more like maroon than the pinky-red in the photo.
Anyways I’m going to write a letter to Mac Harb thanking him for his stand for harp seals, and probably also to Lowell Murray for seconding the motion. I may also send Harb a copy of my screen print; we’ll see!
If you want to take action for the seals:
1. Letter-writing is an effective means. I mean, literally putting pen to paper and mailing it in an envelope. On-line petitions and e-mails may or may not count for much, but in terms of real live letters received:
“Even on the biggest issues, a single letter can stand out when it shows thoughtful consideration of the subject,” said one Capitol Hill staffer “I would pull that letter out of the pile and give it right to the senator.”
Most legislators agree that personalized letters carry much more weight than form letters–whether typed or handwritten. “An individual letter, written by a constituent in his or her own words, is more impressive than the thousands of computer-generated postcards that Senate offices receive every week,” said David Carle, a member of Sen. Paul Simon’s (D-Ill.) staff.
Influence Without Money: Making your Voice Count – Sierra Club 1995 (full of typos, but an interesting read nonetheless)
A directory for contacting the Canadian Government can be found here. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and particularly The Honourable Gail Shea, are in charge of the commercial seal kill in Canada and currently are in full support and advocacy of the continuation of the kill. And here are some intelligent points for letter-writing to politicians in Canada (though the Prime Minister is no longer Paul Martin, FYI!)
2. Another connection to make is to the fur industry. After all, seals are chiefly killed for their fur, and only secondarily for their meat, fat, and so on. International fashions in fur-wearing help to drive sales, and even if the European Union no longer accepts seal products, the fact that fur is still seen as a commodity and ‘luxury’ helps justify the killing and the sales of pelts to countries like China. Calling for a permanent boycott of the use of all fur for clothing and decoration is a positive and direct connection to the seal kill.
3. Do your own research. I’ve done a lot of reading for the subject, especially since I made a speech at a demonstration last year in Victoria BC. But we need all sorts of minds on this subject. Especially because seal killing is justified as an ‘economic benefit’ to extremely impoverished people in Newfoundland and Labrador, I believe that we need to pioneer safer, more just, environmentally sustainable and also personally fufilling work for these citizens. That’s something I certainly don’t have all the answers for. These are proud, traditional people who love to work with their hands, who love the ocean, and the desolate, sharp beauty of the province in which they live. They are severely restricted economically and geographically, but they have a pride in place – many of them love where they live, and don’t want to have to ‘move to the city’ to get work. Many of their children have already given up the seal kill in favour of communications and technology work, but that can’t be everyone’s livelihood. (It’s sure not what I’d want to do for a living, either).