Archive for the ‘Canadiana’ Category

Lies and exaggeration on the seal hunt

March 29, 2008

The annual seal hunt off the East coast stirs up a great deal of hysteria amongst the various animal rights groups each spring. More accurately it probably brings joy to their hearts as this is a great fund raising event for them.

Back in the days of the Brigitte Bardot photo-ops they locked onto photos of the appealing seal pups with their glistening white coat and enormous eyes as the fundraising icon for their anti-sealing campaigns. When the killing of seal pups, or white coats was stopped in 1987 the anti-sealing activists appeared to have lost their best fundraising image. But to read the lamentations from animal rights spokespersons today, reported faithfully by the media, the sealers are still killing those photogenic little ‘white coats’.

“Just three days ago, we stood on the ice floes with beautiful baby seals still covered in white fur,” said Rebecca Aldworth of the Humane Society of the United States.

“It is heartbreaking that the commercial seal hunt has begun and these pups are being brutally clubbed, shot and skinned to produce fashion items nobody needs.”

It is difficult to believe that Ms. Aldworth really believes this rhetoric and is unaware that these pups are no longer being killed by the sealers. More probably, she can clearly hear the sound of donation money rolling in every time she intones the words ‘white coats’ and ‘clubbed’ in the same sentence.

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador certainly recognized that the animal rights groups were playing fast and loose with the facts back in 2005, when they sent out a press release trying to set the record straight.

“White coats” have not been harvested since 1987, but there is evidence that they are being exploited by the anti-sealing interest groups who profit from Eastern Canada’s seal harvest.

It has long been recognized in Newfoundland and Labrador that the white coat (which references a harp seal’s white fur that molts away after approximately three weeks) is a critical component to some lobbyists’ fundraising campaigns. A harvesting and trading ban of white coats has existed under Marine Mammal Regulations since 1987. However, some political action committees appear to rely on the donations that are generated in response to their blatant promotion of such images.

“We respect even extremist groups’ right to disagree with Newfoundland and Labrador’s cultural, historical, and economic links with the seal harvest,” says Trevor Taylor, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. “But many anti-seal groups must come clean. They purposely promote the more appealing image of white coats, which have not been harvested for almost two decades. It’s time that they stopped exploiting these seals for their own fundraising purposes.”

Where they got it wrong was they thought that the campaign was against the killing of the pups. But the campaign was, and is, about stopping the seal hunt completely and animal rights groups, in their religious fervour, will use any means within their grasp, fair or foul, to achieve that goal.

And if it means using misleading statements and emotional issues that no longer exist, then so be it.

To loosely paraphrase Barry Goldwater, “extremism in the defense of an animal rights agenda is no vice”.

Thanks to Small Dead Animals for this pointer, although SDA’s focus was that in our time of climate change the sealers were having trouble getting to the seal herds due to thick ice.


Western Standard Magazine closing down

October 5, 2007

The right of centre magazine, Western Standard, is shutting down its print edition.

To my deep regret, the Western Standard has decided to stop publishing our print edition.

It’s a purely financial decision. Even though our advertising revenues were stronger than ever, with marquee brands like GM, Mazda, BMW and Air Canada filling our pages, and even though we had the most loyal subscribers in the business, with an unheard-of 80% renewal rate, we just weren’t close enough to profit.


Saltzman Was A Blogger!

January 21, 2007

After his recent death at the age of 91, TV weatherman Percy Saltzman left behind an outspoken and personal blog that pulled his family unwillingly into the public eye.

Percy Saltzman: First TV Weatherman Gone at 91

January 19, 2007

Percy Saltzman, Canada’s first TV weatherman died in Toronto on Monday at the age of 91.

When I was living in Toronto in the late 50’s and going to technical school TV was live. What you saw was what you got – no taping. If a mistake was made in front of the cameras you carried on and lived with it.

Saltzman became more than just the CBC weatherman, although that job made him at least a local celebrity. He also moved into the area of doing interviews of celebrities etc.

One interview has always stuck with me although for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the singer he was interviewing.

Percy always wore horn rim glasses on camera  He and the singer were sitting side by side on stools doing a very casual interview, no fancy props or anything. She reached over and hooked her finger through his glass frames and asked him why he was wearing the glasses when there were no lenses in them. Percy looked slightly embarrassed and said that the powers that be thought it made him look more intellectual or something. And the interview carried on.

It was just another fun moment in live TV.

Speaking of that era, I also remember watching a little half hour show on CBC in Toronto featuring Sammy Davis Jr. Davis must have been playing a club or appearing somewhere in the area and he did the complete show on his own. As I recall, pretty much a bare stage and he sang, danced and even did the commercials. I don’t recall anyone else being on the stage. It was a one-shot deal. I thought it was great, but at the time never realized how truly unique that performance was. It would have never been taped. Pity.

Yvonne Durelle dies at 77

January 8, 2007

Canadian boxing legend, Yvon Durelle died on January 6th at the age of 77.  

My memory of Durelle is the great fight that he had with Archie Moore in 1958.

Durelle strung together a series of wins and took on the 43-year-old Moore on Dec. 10, 1958, at the Montreal Forum, a fight that would go down in the annals of boxing history.

A prohibitive underdog, Durelle decked Moore three times in the first round and seemed on the verge of a stunning upset. He again floored the champion in the fifth round.

But the “Ol’ Mongoose,” as Moore was dubbed, knew every trick in the boxing book, and summoned nearly all of them to come from behind and batter Durelle for an 11th-round stoppage.

Knocked down four times, Moore looked as though he was finished but he was a very skilled and smart fighter. He  simply covered his head with his arms and let Durelle punch at him until he recovered and took back control of the fight. Durelle was strong but he couldn’t get past Moore’s defense in order to put him away. It was an amazing performance.

Moore was an amazing fighter, having fought successfuly as a middleweight, a light heavyweight and a heavyweight.

Lister Sinclair Passes

October 18, 2006

I can’t remember exactly when I first heard Lister Sinclair on CBC Radio, but it was a longer ago than I like to contemplate. 

There were a number of voices back then that made CBC Radio a special place. Max Ferguson and Alan Maitland are two that come immediately to mind. But Sinclair was special; articulate, intelligent and humorous, he could stimulate your interest regardless of the subject matter.

Not only did he have a marvelous radio voice he was, IMHO, the most intelligent and thoughtful broadcaster to grace Canadian airways.

There are some lights that shine more brightly than others and Lister Sinclair was one of those. His passing on October 16th, 2006 at the age of 85 marks the end of an era.

Globe and Mail obituary.