Tasteless Cruelty

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Mark Critch, a comedian with CBC-TV’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, popped up in front of Ignatieff and Newfoundland and Labrador MP Siobhan Coady, who represents St. John’s South-Mount Pearl.

Both told Critch the seal meat was good.

"A Newfoundland MP coming out in front of the seal hunt," he said.

"Boy what a surprise. What are you going to come out in favour of next, EI? It’s kind of like a B.C. politician coming out in favour of weed, or a French one coming out in favour of strippers."

Critch then offered a bit of seal to Kings-Hants MP Scott Brison.

"Well, I really prefer seal foie gras," said Brison.

"Is that the weirdest thing you’ve had in your mouth?" Critch asked, leaving Brison briefly speechless while reporters and politicians cracked up.

After the clowning around was done, it was time for speeches and lunch — bacon-wrapped seal loin. Senators and MPs shared the table with Miss Newfoundland and Labrador Sara Green, who has been the target of online attacks for her support of the seal hunt.

Nova Scotia MPs Peter Stoffer, Gerald Keddy and Scott Armstrong had places at the table, as did senators Jim Cowan, Kelvin Ogilvie and Wilfred Moore — politicians from all three parties.

"I think this is non-denominational," said Keddy. "All the parties have seal hunters. All of us have an interest in preserving this hunt. And, for me, it’s much greater than the seal hunt. This is the thin edge of the wedge on meat eaters around the world. All you got to do is walk into restaurants around Ottawa who have stopped serving foie gras because of protesters. We’re never going to please the protesters. We’re never going to satisfy them, so it’s time to take a stand now."

No elected member of Parliament has ever spoken out against the seal hunt. Sen. Mac Harb, a Liberal, tried last year and this one to introduce an anti-sealing bill but was shut down by fellow Liberal senators.

Polling shows Canadians are divided on the issue, and Harb complains that party discipline prevents other parliamentarians who agree with him from coming forward.

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