To send a message to the Liberal Party of Canada regarding Senator Hervieux-Payette's insensitivity to the suffering of seals, go to their contact box at the following link. Note: the Liberals are distancing themselves from her statements. Further note that she sees the spanking of human children as wrong, yet in her view, babies of another species can be bludgeoned and left to bleed to death.
Céline Hervieux-Payette is seen in this Senate of Canada file photo.
Seal hunt pales next to Iraq slaughter: Senator
Mar. 17 2006
CTV.ca News Staff
Canada's annual seal hunt pales in comparison to the slaughter of innocent Iraqis at the hands of the U.S., according to a Liberal senator who defended the hunt to an American family.
The McLellan family of Minnesota sent a letter to all Canadian senators, describing the seal hunt as "horrible" and "inhumane."
The family also said they were so appalled by the seal hunt that they cancelled plans to vacation in Canada, despite the fact they love the country and have Canadian ancestry.
Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette penned a terse response to the McLellans, suggesting they should be more concerned about their own government's treatment of Iraqis.
She didn't limit her comments to the war, however, pointing out that the true crimes being committed in the world are "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."
Hervieux-Payette told Montreal's La Presse that Americans should worry about their own country's behaviour before pointing fingers at other nations.
She sent a copy of her blunt response to other senators, and told La Presse: "all senators received the letter from the McLellans and I was the only one to respond."
Opposition Leader Bill Graham issued a statement on Friday saying those words "reflect her personal opinions and not those of the Liberal Party of Canada."
Graham added the Liberals value the friendship and commitment to democratic principles that Canada shares with the U.S.
There is no suggestion that Hervieux-Payette's comments might bring disciplinary action from her caucus.
Sir Paul McCartney's recent high-profile protest of the seal hunt brought international media attention to the issue. McCartney and his wife, Heather Mills McCartney, led an entourage of media and animal rights activists onto a Newfoundland ice floe earlier this month, where they posed with harp seal pups.
That led to a debate on CNN's Larry King Live between Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams and the McCartneys. Williams later said the couple was badly misinformed about the hunt.
In her letter, Hervieux-Payette told the McLellans the centuries-old seal hunt is an important part of the economy for eastern workers and native hunters who rely on the proceeds from the harvest.
"This activity allows the livelihoods of our people in a region where they have been living for centuries," she wrote.
The Liberal caucus has not issued an official response to the senator's letter.
Former MP Carolyn Parrish was kicked out of caucus by former prime minister Paul Martin for her comments against U.S. President George Bush. Parrish also stomped on a doll of the U.S. president.
Hervieux-Payette was appointed to the senate in 1995 by former prime minister Jean Chretien.
In 2004 she introduced a private member's bill to outlaw spanking of children.