G7 ministers will be exposed to seal pelts and meat when they come to Nunavut this week
When Governor General Michaëlle Jean tasted a bit of seal meat last May, she was pilloried by animal rights activists but praised by Rex Murphy for her “spectacle of empathy in action” and “imagination.” This week, that same brand of imagination is leaking into the G7 meeting in Iqaluit. On the eve of a European ban on seal products, the Canadian government is welcoming European finance ministers into a Nunavut legislature adorned with sealskin chairs and handing them plenty of seal swag (vests and mittens, mostly). Servers will wear sealskin hairpins and, at Saturday’s dinner, will be serving portions of—what else?—seal.
Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, an Inuit woman who represents Nunavut in the House of Commons, hopes the strategy will emphasize the centrality of traditional seal hunting, which she maintains is a sustainable practice, to northern communities. “It’s an opportunity to educate the international community,” she said, responding to anti–seal hunt campaigners. “They’re protesting because some rock star laid on the ice with a seal… I’m frankly sick and tired of being a target of international organizations.”
We imagine PETA is busy baking a fresh batch of pies for the occasion. Minister Aglukkaq may want to pack extra tissues.