“I’ll have the seal meat in a special port sauce,” the MP intoned as he handed his menu back to the waiter, unsuccessfully stifling a belch with the back of his hand. The waiter’s expression was pained as he replied apologetically, “I’m sorry sir, but seal is not on the menu this evening.” “Whyever not?” demanded the disappointed MP, “Have you run out?” “No sir,” replied the waiter. “There is no media here this evening, sir. The seal in port sauce is reserved only for photo-ops.”
Okay, it didn’t actually go down like that, but that’s the story released today — seal flesh isn’t actually going to be on the menu of the parliamentary restaurant, as was claimed last month. Seal flesh will be served only on special occasions (read: political photo-ops).
In February, Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette (who I’ve been told prefers to be called simply ‘Senator Céline’ so be sure to address her as such in future correspondence to her. And send her LOADS of correspondence – she loves hearing from the “vegetarian lobbies.”) bragged that seal flesh would be a fixture on the menu of the swanky Parliament Hill restaurant in Ottawa. Last year an all-party advisory council managing the affairs of Parliament Hill gave its approval to the addition as a show of support for the inherently cruel commercial seal hunt and as a two-finger gesture to the European Commission just after it banned trade in seal products in the EU.
Last month Senator Céline gushed to reporters “I am happy to announce the first time that seal meat will be served in the parliamentary restaurant will be on the menu Wednesday March 10, 2010!”
News today is that the unsavoury dish won’t actually be on the regular menu. It appears it will be offered only during special occasions like Senator Céline’s seal flesh soirées, Michaëlle Jean’s seal suishi parties, and other media events.
“Seal meat is not readily accessible; it’s something that has to be planned for,” said Heather Bradley, spokeswoman for House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken (times are tough when a girl has to be spokesperson for both the House Speaker AND the kitchen staff). She also pointed out that it’s not always in season. Senator Céline explained the change in plan as it being “difficult to get a regular supplier.”
True, commercial sealers only have a small window of opportunity each spring to brutally bludgeon to death hundreds of thousands of baby seals, but hey — that’s what deep-freezes are for – bung all the dead seals in the Parliamentary Freezers. They’ll keep forever to feed the endless stream of starving parliamentarians who will be lining up from January to December with their tongues hanging out “to try the seal.” Or better yet, order it from the Inuit, who conduct a subsistence hunt during other times of the year. Senator Céline has made a point of telling us how much she loves and respects the Inuit and supports their way of life and will defend to the death their right to hunt seals. So why are sealers from the Magdalen Islands the Official Dead Seal Flesh Supplier to Parliament?
Of course, Heather Bradley and Senator Céline are loathe to state the obvious — seal flesh will not be on the regular menu because there isn’t enough demand to keep it there. It was a gesture – an obscene gesture in every sense of the word – to support the sealers and send a “F**k you!” message to the European Commission for having the neck to actually listen to the wishes of its citizens and do the decent thing – ban the grisly products of an outrageously cruel slaughter.
I think perhaps the most humorous passage of the news article was Senator Céline comparing seal meat to turtle. “It’s as if we were serving turtles. This is a very exotic, sophisticated meat and it is limited in quantity.” That’s shilling at its best (worst?). Bacteria-laden seal flesh ripped from the carcass of a 12-day old pup. Exotic. Sophisticated. For a limited time only. Don’t Wait! Buy Now!
Apparently Senator Céline is thinking about issuing an invitation for one of her seal flesh soirées to officials in the European Union. She told media, “I guess I will have a special invitation for them.” Poor Céline. Has nobody told her? Canada’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tried that. Nobody came.