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March 17, 2006
We Club Seals Because We Hate America?

One of my Canadian readers directed me to a CBC report about an exchange of letters between an American family protesting the harvesting of baby seals and a senator who used the occasion to let her anti-Americanism fly. After the McLellan family of Minnesota wrote to Canadian politicians that they would not spend vacations with our northern neighbors because of what they see as approved animal cruelty, Céline Hervieux-Payette wrote back that the McLellans had no business criticizing the hunt because Americans execute blacks and kill Iraqi civilians:

A Liberal senator has replied to a family in Minnesota upset about Canada's seal hunt with a letter denouncing the United States for executing prisoners at home and killing people in Iraq.

The McLellan family had written to Canadian senators to say they cancelled a vacation in Canada because of the hunt, which they called "horrible" and "inhumane," Montreal's La Presse reports.

In her response, Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette said that what she finds horrible is "the daily massacre of innocent people in Iraq, the execution of prisoners – mainly blacks – in American prisons, the massive sale of handguns to Americans, the destabilization of the entire world by the American government's aggressive foreign policy, etc."

She said Americans are not in a position to criticize others. "They must start to look at their own behaviour, the permanent heightening of the planet's insecurity since the election of Bush," she told La Presse.

Well, look, I have no portfolio for clubbing baby seals over the head with sledghammers or the death penalty. I don't claim to be an expert at the former, and I'm not a supporter of the latter. On the other hand, neither keeps me awake at night. For more information on the seal hunt and the arguments for and against its continuation, visit the CBC's in-depth FAQ on the subject.

However, I do find it fascinating that instead of responding to the specific criticism of the hunt, Hervieux-Payette attacked America and Americans in such a knee-jerk liberal fashion. Honestly, it creates quite a bit of dissonance to hear someone decry American intervention in Iraq, gun rights, and the death penalty -- in defense of clubbing baby seals and skinning them! Putting aside the complete non-sequitur of the senator's response -- which indicates that she has no intellectual defense for her position -- hunting baby seals with clubs doesn't exactly fit with the rabid leftist rhetoric she uses in her rebuttal.

The return letter appears to be just an excuse for Hervieux-Payette to vent her barely-latent hostility towards the US. The reference to daily "massacres" of Iraqi civilians at the hands of US forces is not only unsupportable but a nasty and libelous smear against our troops. Playing the race card on the death penalty also reveals her to be a hypocritical boor. Would it be OK if only Caucasians and Asians got the death penalty, and if not, why not just object to the entire concept of the state taking the lives of criminals? And it is hard to take Salty Céline seriously when she criticizes gun ownership in the US while arguing for the seal hunt on the basis of "tradition".

The other Canadian senators simply ignored the McLellan's letter, and judging from Hervieux-Payette's response, she would have been better off doing the same.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 17, 2006 6:16 PM

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