Stephen Harper, clubbed seals, and the West End Girls (together again)

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      After reading Gwynne Dyer's column on Japanese whaling, I began to wonder if there are political parallels between Dyer's incisive observations about Japanese nationalist defensiveness and Canada's reaction to seal hunt protestors. Is Canada's resistance ”” like Japan's ”” less to do with the need to preserve the actual industry in question, and more about an assertion of national and cultural autonomy in the face of international pressures?

      When I was discussing this topic with our editor, Charlie Smith, he wondered if the political resistance by Canadian and Japanese governments indicates that perhaps protestors need to rethink their strategies in order to achieve their goals. For instance, would it make a difference if the whaling protests in Japan came from domestic Japanese sources rather than international ones? (And perhaps the methods need to use culturally sensitive political avenues?)

      In Canada, who is best to lead the charge against the seal hunt? After all, there were Heather Mills and (Sir) Paul McCartney shining an unflattering light on Canada, and international protestors converging on the East Coast. (Here at the Straight, we received numerous irate e-mails from people around the world criticizing Canada and asking us to do something about it.)

      On the other hand, Stephen Harper's government doesn't seem to be all that concerned about Canada's international reputation. Canada has certainly been acting rather un-Canadian by being one of only two countries to vote against the declaration of indigenous peoples' rights and then there's Harper's attempts to restore the traditional definition of marriage after same-sex marriages were legalized by the Civil Marriage Act on July 20, 2005.

      Maybe what we need is the Canadian version of the Dixie Chicks. Could a comeback be in the stars for a politically outspoken West End Girls?

      Oh, Canada...

      If you have a tasty recipe for either cooked seal or cooked Harper, Send in a comment.