Stephen Harper takes brave stand against vegetarianism

by Aaron Wherry

Having sampled seal, the Prime Minister will now eat only that. And is forcing his eating habits on others.

Harper arrived in Iqaluit, Nunavut on Monday night with a planeload of the cabinet ministers that sit on cabinet’s Priorities and Planning Committee. P&P held a meeting in Iqaluit Tuesday. At lunch, at Harper’s request, cabinet was served a menu of boiled and raw seal livers and ribs.

On Wednesday, as he bantered with reporters aboard the HMCS Toronto while sailing on Frobisher Bay, Harper noted that even Transport Minister John Baird, a vegetarian, tried some seal meat at lunch. ”I’m tired of John’s vegetaranism,” Harper joked.

But lunch on Tuesday did not, apparently, quench Harper’s appetite for seal. For dinner Wednesday, Harper requested seal steaks and encouraged his staff to try a bit. We have been told that journalists travelling with the prime minister this week — I’m one of them — will see seal in some form or another on the menu Thursday.




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Stephen Harper takes brave stand against vegetarianism

  1. Message discipline, gotta love it. But will it seal his quest for a majority? Will it finally unlock the hidden seal-meat-lover vegetarian-hater vote, I wonder?

  2. Shameless pandering or has the PM truly taken a shine to Seal? Has he eaten it raw yet? Inquiring minds want to know.

  3. John Baird is a vegetarian?! Well, you learn something new every day I guess… he's the last person I'd pick to swear off meat.

    • I thought when people said Baird was a vegetarian they were being euphemistic.

    • Does he mean that Baird eats Vegetarians, maybe?

    • Oh, he's vegetarian, but he hasn't sworn off meat….

      Sorry, tasteless I know, but it had to be done

    • It does seem as though Baird is ticking off most of the "categories of people you'd never think would be Conservatives" boxes, doesn't it?

      I eagerly await the story that mentions in passing that Baird is actually a woman of colour.

      • And shop steward for his union.

  4. Does it taste like chicken?

  5. Way go Stevie boy – between the GG and Harper we have to have some of the most interesting leaders anywhere – can anyone imagine (honestly now) what would happen if even Obama started hacking out the heart of a baby seal and snarfing it down – I don't know folks I just can't see it! Sometimes I think we should all sit back and look at ourselves a little differently – let's try a thought experiment – let's say you are a freshly arrived immigrant from … oh I don't know say England and you log on here to get to know your new country and then you find out your immigrant black lady head of state and seconded by the first minister waspish evil meanie re-incarnation of Machiavelli are establishing a new Canadian tradition hacking up cute little baby seals for steaks for dinner = well I don't know about you guys but I just can't imagine what the thoughts would be – like – what have I gotten myself into LOL – I love canada!

  6. His fate is sealed now.

    • LOL. "In return, we would just like to rename the plant the Seal Slaughter Stinks Plant," Ashley Byrne, a spokeswoman for PETA, said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C.

      This is even better than PETA's maple syrup boycott, which they hoped would cripple the Canadian economy.

      • I don't know why I let my guard down while reading the story, but I remember thinking "Wow… That's kind of nice of them. I guess they really think it's a big problem and want to help protect the environment."

        Then I read the line you just quoted and was reminded that it's an article about PETA.

      • I'm now curious as to what they will name the sewage plant….

        • They should name it the "PETA Stinks" plant, just for kicks.

          • I just thought of one snag with "PETA Stinks." Mayor Kelly would never go for it, since his first name is Peter, and Frank Magazine would immediately dub it the "Peter Stinks" plant.

          • Aw, nuts. I guess Mayor Kelly will have to go with Plan B, and just ignore PETA like everyone else does!

        • Me too. It wasn't until I read Mayor Kelly's comments that I realized that there actually will be a name for it at some point. Seems like an odd thing to name, but I'm fully in favour of CR's suggestion.

    • Oh great. Now I can't stop thinking about that poor giant lobster. Jeepers, PETA, why not just send an undercover liberator to buy the beast for the asking price, and then have a big free-the-lobster rally afterwards? The guy's never going to sell it to you now.

  7. Harper could personally club seals on the wharf and the Newfs still aren't going to vote Conservative until he patches things up with Danny.

    • I'll bet they'd vote for Harper if he promised to promote seal clubbing as a demonstration sport at the Vancouver Olympics. Or has Iggy already made that promise?

      How about tax deductability for equipment used in children's recreational sealing leagues? Surely the Libs haven't beat him to that.

    • I've seen the PM with a nail gun. I highly doubt he could personally club seals on the wharf.

      • Only if the seal's already dead. Over to you, Mme. Jean.

  8. This unanimous support for the seal industry is great and Harper's publicity stunts are good, if going over the top. Too bad Canadians abroad don't get the same kind of attention and protection as the Canadian seal industry.

    What is interesting, as always, is the reaction from ConBots, claiming this is a great and daring action by the Prime Minister in defence of a Canadian industry.

    Does anyone recall the reaction from Reformers/Alliance/Conservatives back when Chretien made a big deal about eating Canadian beef after the mad-cow bannings? Their reaction was decidedly mixed, some thinking it was good but many lambasting him for a partisan photo op.

    It's not unlike when Harper went to Afghanistan and the Conservatives were ecstatic, even wrongly claiming he was the first PM to do so, when Chretien had been there twice before only he did it for morale and didn't make it a giant photo op for votes back home.

  9. Hey, scandal! Harper left out an i:

    ”I'm tired of John's vegetar[i]anism,” Harper joked

    Vowelgate.

    • Careful Dot, you'll have David Akin issuing disclaimers about how the PMO and OLO spelled it wrong too.

    • Careful Dot, you'll have David Akin issuing disclaimers about how the PMO and OLO spelled it wrong too.

      I can never take that site seriously, I see his picture and think Charlie Sheen.

  10. Oh, for heaven's sake. I'm sorry, but for a Canadian politician, eating seal is probably the least daring act possible. Every single party supports the seal hunt — even the Greens. Every single leader would — hell, probably *has* — eaten seal meat. I've been at events where Liberal MP Todd Russell is carrying around a jar of the stuff, offering it up to all and sundry. Even when the GG ate the heart — which did, it's fair to say, up the ante as far as future photo ops — she was praised as a Canadian heroine by pretty well every media outlet in the country. What's truly bizarre is that the universal political support for the seal hunt in no way reflects the views of Canadians, a sizeable minority (or, depending on the poll you read, a majority) of whom oppose the seal hunt. It's one of the oddest anomaly in Canadian politics, honestly.

    • The "annual" PM pardons a Thanksgiving seal to follow.

    • The Greens? Really? I thought they were anti-hunt, at least outside the traditional native hunt…

      • I believe the policy changed when E May decided to run in an east coast riding. Expect it to revert back now that she'll be running in Saanich Gulf Islands, and more anti-nukes rhetoric, both positions locally supported in BC.

    • This is true, it is a very interesting phenomenon. I suspect the reson is the following factors:
      1. It is, ultimately, a very important but local issue, i.e on the East coast and in the North
      2. For most people in the rest of the country it is not a major issue

      Therefore, the opinion of most of the country does not matter – few if any votes will be gained or lost nation wide by supporting or opposing the hunt. BUT, opposing the hunt is guaranteed to lose a significant number of votes in a particular region, the effect of which is amplified because MPs are local representatives.

      • It is also the right policy. What is it with seals that makes them so different from the millions of cows, sheep, veal and lamb (as in baby sheep for Pete's sake!), chickens, turkeys, etc.???

        Opposing the seal hunt makes sense only if you are opposing all meat and poultry altogether. But singling out seal meat makes no sense.

        • When's the last time you heard of someone hunting a cow or a turkey, Ted?

          I don't oppose the seal hunt but your comparison is flawed. Wildlife and livestock are different beasts. :)

        • I agree with the hunt as well, but as KOL points out your comparison does not quite work as the seals are not the same as chickens, as the former are not domesticated. Chickens/cows/pigs are essentially manufactured by humans for human consumption.

          If we were hunting seals to the point of extinction, I would take issue with that.

      • True, although if — and it's a big if — the EU ban on Canadian seal products were to go ahead, and sparked a wider trade battle that starts to affect other export industries, you might start to hear some griping from other parts of the country about what protecting the hunt is costing.

    • Is it possible the seal meat extravaganza isn't taking place for domestic consumption though?

      This is a trip to the North in part to emphasize our sovereignty right? And we're not emphasizing our sovereignty to ourselves are we? We're saying to OTHER countries, "Hey, don't forget, this is OUR North". Could we not also be saying "And oh yeah, don't forget, we eat seal too, and it's TASTY!!!".

      • Except that most of the other countries that might challenge said sovereignty on territorial grounds are seal-hunters/eaters too, aren't they?

        • Oh, for sure, I didn't mean to say that the seal hunt was linked to arctic sovereignty in a territorial sense (as in other countries challenging the seal hunt on territorial sovereignty grounds) I just meant that the whole Cabinet trip is an exercise in sending a message to foreigners and eating seal can be seen as a message being sent to foreigners, and there's also the connection to the Inuit (which is why the government's using the opportunity to send a message to the world at large on arctic sovereignty and (separately) the seal hunt, as opposed to say arctic sovereignty and visas for Mexican tourists. I don't think there's a "sovereignty connection" except in as much that they're both issues that the government is trying to bring to the fore for non-Canadians, and issues that aren't really determinative politically domestically.

    • Why does it take ITQ foraging to get some credible Macleans substance in a Wherry thread?

      Aaron you're probably a nice guy but it would be nice if you actually provided some content instead of all this free-riding that is occasionally graced with unsupported insinuation.

      Anyway – Save the Fish! Eat a Seal for Supper!

  11. If Baird's eating seal flesh, then he's not a vegetarian. If he's eating seal flesh and calling himself a vegetarian, he's a liar. Imagine that, a politician lying?

  12. What do you call a Lesbian who doesn't eat meat? A vagatarian.

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