Canadian MPs vote to include seal skin on Olympic uniforms. WTF?

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demagogue
Canadian MPs vote to include seal skin on Olympic uniforms. WTF?

The federal government wants Canadian Olympians to wear a seal product — most likely skin — during the 2010 Winter Games to help protest a European Union ban on Canada’s seal hunt.

Members of Parliament from all parties voted unanimously Wednesday in favour of a Bloc Quebecois motion calling on the government to come up with a way to integrate seal pelts into the athletes’ uniforms.

“With the upcoming Winter Olympics that will be in Vancouver in 2010, the government has a chance to offer some concrete action to promote seal products,” Bloc Quebec MP Raynald Blais said. “Today we are tabling a motion aimed at studying the possibility to integrate into the Canadian athletes' uniforms. Is the government ready to act to save an industry?”

Canadian Olympic Committee president Mike Chambers said adding seal products to Olympians’ gear would not only mar athletes’ performance, but politicize the Games.

http://tinyurl.com/chq2lh

 

demagogue

Does parliament expect Sydney Crosby to wear a harp seal jersey?

What a joke.

International embarassment?

Cueball Cueball's picture

That is totally stupid and embarrassing.

Doug

Maybe they could make them with darling white baby seal hoods. If they're going to do this, why not go all out?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

What's going to happen when, almost certainly, a large anti-seal (or pro-fashion) contingent of Canadian athletes refuse to wear the sealskin addition?

Still, the whole EU boycott thing is unbelievably ignorant.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I can see the govt trying to prop up the industry, but forcing it on Olympic athletes (some of whom who may oppose sealing) is just dumb. It's political, and could backfire. What the hell, I think the entire Olympics has become such a farce anyway, this episode ought to provide some entertainment. Laughing  Even if it embarrasses the shit out of Canadians.Embarassed

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

demagogue wrote:
Members of Parliament from all parties voted unanimously Wednesday in favour of a Bloc Quebecois motion calling on the government to come up with a way to integrate seal pelts into the athletes’ uniforms.

Emphasis mine. I wonder how the Greens would have voted if they had any MPs?

Michelle

I suppose it's no worse than using leather.

I think it's dumb, but I also think the European Union is being dumb.  (And I say this as someone who won't wear fur and is very sympathetic to vegan causes.)  The EU is banning seal skins, but not leather obtained from animals who have been through factory farms?  Jebus.  This is beyond stupid. 

Sealing is one of the few animal industries where the animals get to live in their natural habitat until they die, there's no danger of extinction, they're not being created for the sole purpose of being killed (like farm animals), nor are they being bred for size, being genetically manipulated, etc.

If I were going to ban ANY animal product, I certainly wouldn't go after seal products first.  Europe, home of foie gras, is telling Canada's subsistence hunters what is cruel?  Don't make me fucking laugh.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I live in a fishing community where many used to hunt seals to supplement their income and diets, and I'd be given five pounds of seal meat every spring. This year there's simply no market for the product, so no one here and along the Lower North Shore bothered to go after seal this year.

 

Caissa

The motion has an April 1st feel to it. Now when are the Parliamentarians going to pass a motion supporting the female ski jumpers?

Michelle

I agree with you that they should definitely do that.  But that doesn't mean they were wrong to pass this motion.

You know, the more I think about this move, the more I support it.  It's an innovative way to get the point across on the international stage that the EU boycott is stupid and hypocritical.

Caissa

I'm leaning towards the motion  being a waste of Parliament's time. As much as I am a sports fan, I recognize that in balance holding the Olympics is not good for the people of Vancouver.  

Michelle

Oh hey, I agree with you about that, re: the Olympics in Vancouver!

No Yards No Yards's picture

I support individual athletes if they want to make their own political "statements" at the Olympics, but I don't support countries doing the same thing. Whether it is boycotting them (and preventing the athletes from participating) because the host country is "party non grata", or the host country using them (forcing athletes to participate in the politics) to make their own political statement.

If government wants to make this kind of statement then the politicians can show up at the games wearing seal skin ... leave the athletes the fuck alone. What the hell is wrong with our politicians? Are they all cowards and fools (never mind, that was a rhetoric question.)

Caissa

Who funds the athletes?

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

This was incredibly well-said, and worth repeating:

Michelle wrote:

Sealing is one of the few animal industries where the animals get to live in their natural habitat until they die, there's no danger of extinction, they're not being created for the sole purpose of being killed (like farm animals), nor are they being bred for size, being genetically manipulated, etc.

If I were going to ban ANY animal product, I certainly wouldn't go after seal products first.  Europe, home of foie gras, is telling Canada's subsistence hunters what is cruel?  Don't make me fucking laugh.

Debater

The Canadian Parliament doesn't seem to realize that not all of us support the seal hunt and that some of us think it is time to take a more balanced approach on the subject.

Canada is getting a bad reputation because of it not only in Europe but in the United States and other countries.

How dare they try to impose this stuff on athletes.

remind remind's picture

Wow, I learned something new today about foie gras, as I had NO idea and had to look it up, and I must say I agree with Michelle. Thanks for the prosepective on this Michelle. Though I will note Canada produces it as well.

Quote:
Foie gras (pronounced /fwɑːˈɡrɑː/ in English; French for "fat liver") is a food product made of the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened. This fattening is typically achieved through gavage (force-feeding) corn, according to French law

....France is the leading producer and consumer of duck and goose foie gras. In 2005, the country produced 18,450 tonnes of foie gras (78.5% of the world's estimated total production of 23,500 tonnes) of which 96% was duck liver and the rest goose liver. Total French consumption of foie gras was 19,000 tonnes in 2005.[29] Approximately 30,000 people are members of the French foie gras industry, with 90% of them residing in the Périgord (Dordogne), the Midi-Pyrénées régions in the southwest, and Alsace. The European Union recognizes the foie gras produced according to traditional farming methods (label rouge) in southwestern France with a geographical indication of provenance.

Can you imagine how many freaking ducks it would take to 20,000 tons of it?

 

Snert Snert's picture

I think Canada should ban all EU products until Spain, Portugal and France outlaw bullfighting.

What?  It's a big ol' tradition?  It brings money to the local economy?  People have been practicing it for years?  Tough shit.

remind remind's picture

Debater wrote:
The Canadian Parliament doesn't seem to realize that not all of us support the seal hunt and that some of us think it is time to take a more balanced approach on the subject.

Canada is getting a bad reputation because of it not only in Europe but in the United States and other countries.

How dare they try to impose this stuff on athletes.

Aw, but you eat factory animals, as do the athletes, without any weighted consideration, eh?!

Debater

I'm a vegetarian actually. Smile I have been for 5 years.  I took it up a number of years back when I left the restaurant business.  I had seen enough meat to last me a lifetime.

Ghislaine

Michelle and Snert hit the nail on the head. I am proud that parliament passed this - especially unanimously.

How many celebrities raise millions and go and film what goes in inside a factory farm, a cow slaughterhouse or documents fois gras preperation?  For some reason, it is only low-income rural East Coasters who receive this treatment. The East coast will still need a seal cull.

 

Link: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Editorial/1120682.html    

Quote:

 

What's most galling, of course, is that while EU politicians targeted the seal hunt as "inherently inhumane," Europe still permits the slaughter of animals in ways that many may find objectionable. There is bullfighting in Spain, where the animals are ritualistically killed for the entertainment of spectators; large-scale fur farming in countries such as Denmark and Holland; the slaughter of whales in the Danish Faroe Islands; and large-scale consumption of horsemeat, often taken from very young animals, in countries such as Italy, France and Germany. Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams is right. EU politicians are hypocrites.

The seal product ban won't even stop the killing of seals within the EU itself, as an exemption allows fishermen there to cull the herds to protect their catches, as long as it's done on a non-profit basis.

That's likely to happen on this side of the Atlantic, as well.

 

The seal population will just go out of control and further decimate fish stocks. The only difference is that East Coasters will not be able to make a cent off of it, although will still be able to enjoy some seal flipper pie.

Congrats Canadian parliament. It reminds of the Junos a few years ago, when Jann Arden advised Pamela Anderson that she was wearing seal skin underwear Laughing

 

Ghislaine

Any leather worn or used Debator?

Michelle

We don't even have to go that far, Snert.  They should ban factory farmed, factory abattoir-murdered meat and leather if they are really concerned about animal cruelty and not just making a hypocritical token gesture.  Factory farmed meat and leather is way, WAY more cruel than seal hunting.  As is veal, foie gras, and a whole bunch of other animal products that Europeans have absolutely no problem with using.

Michelle

Debater, I totally respect your stand as a vegetarian.  Seriously, I think it would be great if the whole world went vegetarian - it would sure make it easier for those of us who prefer vegetarian or vegan diets but have meat-eaters in the family!

I'm not saying that hunting is a great thing.  I'm saying that making seal products illegal while they have absolutely no problem with leather - LEATHER for fuxaches - is stupid AND discriminatory (especially considering that the people most hurt by this are northerners, many of whom are indigenous people doing a traditional and sustainable hunt, as well as low-income East Coasters, as mentioned by Ghislaine).

Michelle

P.S. Vegetarianism does not stop animal cruelty.  Animals that produce milk, eggs and other animal products are slaughtered when they can no longer produce, and male chicks in the egg industry are either raised for meat, while excess male chicks are simply killed.  And those that do live to produce these products live lives of abject misery and slavery before slaughter.

Seals live vastly better lives than factory farmed animals, and animals that produce milk and eggs.  It is a much, much more humane industry than the meat and dairy industry.  If you're a vegetarian who eats eggs or milk but opposes the seal hunt, you should think pretty seriously about your reasoning.

Ghislaine

Michelle: just a quick note re: your post # 24 - the Inuit are exempt from this bill under certain conditions.

clersal

Not to waste the seal they should all have necklaces made with the teeth.

A stunning outfit!

remind remind's picture

So the EU believs in just wasting the fur and meat of the seals they cull, my how humane, and usefull! As bad a trophy hunting IMV.

LOL, Jann Arden, had forgetten that.

 

No Yards No Yards's picture

Gee, then why doesn't Parliament just force all Canadians to wear seal fur during the Olympics (or for ever for that matter?)

Yeah, the EU is over reacting and hypocritical ... yes seal hunting is actually more humane than the main stream factory farming techniques ... those are good points to make in debating the Europeans, but the point here is whether it's a good idea for our government to step in and force athletes to make that argument ... let the politicians all sit in the front row on opening day buried in seal skins if they want to make some kind of political statement, but using the Olympic athletes as political pawns is wrong whether China, Russia, or Canada does it, and is a large part of why the Olympics are such a fucking joke.

Michelle

Well, there is that.  Good point.  (BTW, sorry for that triple-post above!)

remind remind's picture

BS, those athletes are using Canadian tax payers dollars to provide themselves with career opportunities, that  will go well beyond that of the tax payers who fund them.

If we are going to waste tax payers dollars on such things as the Olympics,  and furthering athletes multi million dollar careers, instead of social justice endeavours, then tax payers have every right to demand/expect geo-political actions from them.

After all, we used our athletes to boycott Russia, which is hugely more political than wearing seal. Some also wanted to use them to boycott China and saw no porblem with that "political"  pawn action.

Imagine if all that money wasted, would have been used to build economic infrastructure and social programs for those being impacted by the seal hunt boycott?

And don't even get me started on the capitalist exploitation of the atheltes and the Olympics,  but apparently for some, that is A OK, so long as it is not "political". BS capitalist exploitation is every bit as politcal, as outright political use. Can we say Innukshuk expropriation  for colonial purposes loud enough?

Ghislaine

I agree with remind's post # 31 wholeheartedly.  These athletes are already being used to compete on stolen land. Not sure if there are Native atheletes, however imagine how they feel?  Imagine if all that money had been used to try and move forward the land claims across this country or improve living conditions on reserves - let alone ensure safe drinking water?

Athletes already are being used politically and expected to get results (any Gold medals will come with political payoffs for those who made decisions to fund them, got new stadiums built, etc.).

demagogue

How many MPs will show up to Parliament wearing seal skin today?  

Ghislaine

demagogue wrote:

How many MPs will show up to Parliament wearing seal skin today?  

I doubt it. Here is a pic of Mary Simon, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, wearing sealskin in Parliament.

 

http://www.itk.ca/media-centre/media-releases/%E2%80%9Cwear-sealskin-canada-day%E2%80%9D-protest-animal-rights-activists

 

She also called for Canadians to wear sealskin on Canada Day last year in protest.

[url=http://www.itk.ca/media-centre/media-releases/%E2%80%9Cwear-sealskin-can... Here [/url] is a link to an Inuit company that sells beautiful seal products.

Papal Bull

Every MP who voted for this resolution should take a self-funded trip and go and club a seal themselves. Show some back bone and be an integral part of that economic sector, I say. See if it is really something that they want to support.

Ghislaine

Papal Bull - are you vegetarian? Do you call for people to go and kill a cow themselves every time they wear leather shoes? Do you not get the point that an MP certainly doesn't need any income, however rural East Coasters and Inuit do.

Here are some words of wisdom from Mary Simon (link in my post above #34):

Quote:

"I am very proud of my culture as an Inuk, and as a Canadian. It's time we all stood up in the face of animal rights protestors who are making more money off our backs than our total sealing industry. I am also quite tired of other people telling us how to live our lives, without taking the time to learn about our culture and way of life. I am calling on Canadians who support us to get some seal clothing and wear it in a show of solidarity to Inuit and to other Canadian sealers on Canada Day."

Mary Simon wore a sealskin vest in the House of Commons on June 11, 2008 to demonstrate the vitality of the Inuit culture, and to show the importance of sealing in the Arctic today.

"Sealing is still important to the Inuit economy in 2008," says Mary Simon. "The Inuit economy was decimated in the 1980s with the first European ban on seal products. When I was on a mission to European capitals along with Canadian Government and other representatives in March of 2007 Inuit were told - quite paternalistically - that we would have an exemption from any new ban. Well once you kill the market for Canadian seal products, you kill it for everyone, Inuit included. Inuit have struggled to rebuild markets, and we have worked very hard to develop new sealskin fashions. Today we have some young, dynamic Inuit designers. It angers me that animal-rights protestors, ignorant of and callous towards Inuit culture are trying to take that away in 2008."

Ms. Simon is on record as commending the government of Canada for taking a strong position in defence of Canadian sealers, and taking action at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against any European countries that enact bans against Canadian seal products.

 

No Yards No Yards's picture

remind wrote:

BS, those athletes are using Canadian tax payers dollars to provide themselves with career opportunities, that  will go well beyond that of the tax payers who fund them.

If we are going to waste tax payers dollars on such things as the Olympics,  and furthering athletes multi million dollar careers, instead of social justice endeavours, then tax payers have every right to demand/expect geo-political actions from them.

 

Nonsense, by that logic all government workers can be forced to attend the Olympics in seal skin. Just because you work for the government doesn't mean that you are obligated to become their slave ... not in a democracy at least.

Quote:

After all, we used our athletes to boycott Russia, which is hugely more political than wearing seal. Some also wanted to use them to boycott China and saw no porblem with that "political"  pawn action.

And those people were just as hypocritical then as they are now ... how can you consider boycotting a dictatorship, or abuser of human rights by dictating against their human rights that your athletes must partake in the boycott ... you're being no better than the party you are boycotting ... boycotts are up to the individual. And if the government is to get involved in boycotts at all then it should be a "blanket" boycott (all Canadians under the same requirements, and not just a specific group that people consider their own personal political slaves.)

Quote:

Imagine if all that money wasted, would have been used to build economic infrastructure and social programs for those being impacted by the seal hunt boycott?

And don't even get me started on the capitalist exploitation of the atheltes and the Olympics,  but apparently for some, that is A OK, so long as it is not "political". BS capitalist exploitation is every bit as politcal, as outright political use. Can we say Innukshuk expropriation  for colonial purposes loud enough?

No it's not ok, but the "if you can't beat them, join them" philosophy of using them for YOUR political agenda because they are used for someone else's political agenda doesn't seem to me to be of any greater moral standing.

 

Caissa

I'd much rather that money spent on the  Vancouver Olympics and amateur athletics be spent on social programmes. 

No Yards No Yards's picture

For all those that want our athletes to be forced to wear seal furs, and especially those who also consider the seal hunt more humane than your average factory farming methods ... maybe using our athletes as political slaves and have them walk in wearing animated billboards depicting inhumane farming practices would be a more efficient and important use of resources?

But personally, while I am in mild support of seal hunting, and in much stronger opposition to modern inhumane animal treatment, but somehow I still can't bring myself to force a specific group of citizens (even if they do work for the government) into being force marched in support of my, or anyone's' agenda

Caissa

Wait a sec. The athletes are required to wear a uniform prescribed by COC. All that is being suggested here is the nature of the uniform.

jas

Doug wrote:

Maybe they could make them with darling white baby seal hoods. If they're going to do this, why not go all out?

lol.

I must say, I hadn't heard that perspective on sealing before. I guess I always got sucked into the emotion and the images of the anti-sealing campaign. I guess i never considered also that they have never been in danger of extinction! I'll have to think about that one. I totally agree with the comparison/contrast made to factory farming and would love to see celebrities start to bring attention to hog and chicken and other kinds of animal flesh production.

I think it's got a good PR thrust to it but, I agree, unfair to bring the athletes into it. Present the campaign to them, and let them decide.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I think it would be a very nice gesture by the Canadian government to purchase sufficient sealskin slippers and other sealskin products to give to EVERY team during the duration of the Olympics in Vancouver. Heck, the govt could probably afford to subsidize the seal industry by giving small seal token products (ie souvenirs) to every visitor during the Games. It would give our seal industry a huge boost. Wink

Ghislaine

I like your suggestion Boom Boom!

The athletes are already required to wear a uniform. Previously they were forced to wear one made in a sweatshop by oppressed workers. Now they may have the possibility of having some sustainably-sourced made in Canada sealskin added on.

Caissa

The proposal was quickly shot down by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), which reminded MPs that the Olympics are not to be used as a platform for special causes. Besides, Canada's official uniforms for the Olympics have already been designed, approved by the International Olympic Committee and are currently in production, their look and style a closely guarded secret

http://www.ctvolympics.ca/news-centre/newsid=10398.html?cid=rsstsn

jas

Actually, in the time it took me to have a shower, I've changed my mind about it. I support traditional hunting rights, but I think the commercial hunt, like the cod fishery, always has this tendency to overdo things. The proposed EU boycott also speaks to the power of boycotts, which I think can be an extremely effective means of protest.

It was only in 1987 that the klling of baby seals was stopped.

Ghislaine

Ah well, I am sure the already-approved "secret" design won't force athletes to support sweatshop labour or anything...

Thank you for that update Caissa.

Ghislaine

jas - see my post above. Inuit people with traditional rights would like to participate in the commercial hunt as well. They have a small but growing industry making absolutely beautiful items, which is now threatened. The seal population is in no way at risk whatsoever with the current quotas.

surfdoc surfdoc's picture

Quote:
If you're a vegetarian who eats eggs or milk but opposes the seal hunt, you should think pretty seriously about your reasoning.

 

Thanks Michelle. I'll be honest, and this is not a perspective I have thought about before. I still don't support the subsidization of the seal hunt, but yes, when you think about factory farms and the leather industry, it is important to take a second look at your reasoning. On the other hand, animal-derived products are a necessity in one's diet, whereas no one needs to wear seal fur (or leather for that matter). So maybe I can be enlightened on how bad (local) free-range eggs are?

Ghislaine

surfdoc wrote:

Quote:
If you're a vegetarian who eats eggs or milk but opposes the seal hunt, you should think pretty seriously about your reasoning.

 

Thanks Michelle. I'll be honest, and this is not a perspective I have thought about before. I still don't support the subsidization of the seal hunt, but yes, when you think about factory farms and the leather industry, it is important to take a second look at your reasoning. On the other hand, animal-derived products are a necessity in one's diet, whereas no one needs to wear seal fur (or leather for that matter). So maybe I can be enlightened on how bad (local) free-range eggs are?

Newfoundlanders, the Inuit and others eat seal meat. People do need to wear clothes, so why not use the entire animal to this end?

And animal-derived products are not a necessity - there are lots of healthy vegans out there.

Skinny Dipper

With the "seal" of approval from House of Commons, Team Canada's new hockey uniform:

Team Canada's new hockey uniform 

After the Olympics, the jerseys will be donated to the new NHL team, the Brantford Golden Seals.

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