It seems appropriate with the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to offer a post about our good neighbors to the north. And as an aside, it provides me the opportunity to offer my kudos to President Trump because despite all the forebodings coming from our left of center citizens, he has managed the visits of three foreign leaders without either verbally or physically assaulting them and has not insisted on their deportation. Apparently they all went home voluntarily.
If you’ve read the statements which the Prime Minister has released recently, he is espousing a position of welcome on behalf of all Canadians to foreigners and refugees. And I would have to say that from what I have read he most likely will be true to his word.
To start this conversation, let’s begin with the story of three people. The first two are named Will Baker and Vince Li. Interestingly, these are the same person sharing one schizophrenic body. Mr. Li immigrated to Canada from China and subsequently changed his name. The third is, or more exactly was, Tim McLean. As it happened, Mr. Baker/Li and Mr. McLean were on the same Greyhound bus in Manitoba when the evil side of Baker/Li manifested himself. Baker/Li pulled out a knife and applied it vigorously to the unsuspecting Mr. McLean’s neck. severing his head. Incidentally, Mr. Baker/Li didn’t know Mr. McLean nor had they spoken when this rampage happened.
As disturbing as this homicide was, the story actually gets worse. Baker/Li then used the knife which he had used to kill McLean and sliced a portion of flesh from his chest – and then proceeded to eat it.
When the Canadian court ruled on this case in 2008 they found Baker/Li to be not guilty by reason of mental condition. Baker/Li was inducted into the confines of a Canadian mental facility where he remained under supervision – until last November when he was relocated to an apartment where he lived under limited supervision on his own – until last week when he was granted the right to re-enter Canadian society as a free man (men). In return for this Baker/Li has promised to continue taking his medication. I hope for the sake of all Canadian bus riders he keeps his commitment. That is the compassionate side of Canadian justice and is a story that all those who believe in the re-habilitation of the individual will enjoy as an endorsement of their philosophy.
But there is another side to Canadian compassion. And for those of you who love diversity you might find it a bit disturbing. That is that once again, the annual Harp Seal kill is about to begin. This is an annual hunt in which hundreds of thousands of harp seal pups, most only a few months old, are mercilessly slaughtered in the most primitive and violent manner.
There is no market for seal meat. The seals are killed solely for their pelts which often are skinned from their bodies while they are still alive. If you’ve ever seen footage of this abomination and have any feelings at all, you will probably endure a few sleepless nights. In 2009 the European Union banned the importation of seal skins and the United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution calling for the immediate cessation of this hunt. But it continues.
About thirty years ago I joined several humane and animal rights organizations that were actively working to try to end this annual slaughter. I also entered on my own private boycott of all things Canadian – not that it has had much economic impact on our neighbor – but it does assuage my conscience. Ten years ago a friend invited me on a railroad trip across the Canadian Rockies. At the time I had one reason for declining the offer. Today I have two.