ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Actress Pamela Anderson and a co-creator of “The Simpsons” received a frosty reception in St. John’s, N.L., on Tuesday as they tried to present a $1 million incentive to help end the East Coast seal hunt.
Members of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union, representing sealers, shouted questions at Anderson and Sam Simon during a chaotic news conference outside the office of the Canadian Sealers Association.
At one point, comic Mark Critch of “This Hour has 22 Minutes” showed up, offering Anderson $1 million to stop acting.
Simon offered a giant $1 million cheque to the Canadian Sealers Association and said his intention is to respectfully encourage governments to legislate an end to seal licences while protecting aboriginal hunts.
In a letter dated Tuesday to Eldred Woodford, president of the Canadian Sealers Association, Simon said he’s making the offer after the World Trade Organization upheld Europe’s ban on imported seal products.
A dispute settlement panel said last month that aspects of the embargo undermine fair trade but can be justified on “public moral concerns” for animal welfare.
“With bans firmly in place across Europe, Russia, the U.S., and other countries, the writing is on the wall,” says the letter.
“The seal trade is finished. Leaders as diverse as President Obama and Vladimir Putin embrace this change, yet Canadian politicians remain too timid to initiate a buyout for fear of upsetting swing voters in Eastern Canada — and because they don’t seem to care about individual sealers.”
The association’s office was closed and no one from the association was present.
But Earl McCurdy, president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union, called Simon’s offer an ignorant insult based on misinformation.
Anderson is among other celebrities such as Paul McCartney and Martin Sheen who have spoken out against the seal industry.
Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea reaffirmed her support for Canada’s commercial hunt on Dec. 6 during a visit to a boutique in St. John’s that sells seal fur products.
She was there as Ottawa and the provincial government announced they’ll spend almost $500,000 on a joint pilot project to offer seal meat at stores in Canada and overseas in the new year.