And I Can't Even Eat Sushi!

Michaelle Jean Eats Seal

There are some voices in the European Union shocked (shocked! I tell you) to learn that our Governor General, the Queen’s representative in Canada, was caught eating raw seal heart on TV while on a trip up north to an Inuit community in Nunavut. PETA is, predictably, incensed. European politicians who have virulently opposed Canada’s seal hunt are huffing and puffing.

Lots of Canadians on the left and right are standing behind her excellency Michaelle Jean, however, and I think over on Raphael’s blog, commentator Scruffy Dan puts his finger on why:

At least PETA is being consistent here. Wrong IMO, but consistent. Most of Europe on the other hand is being completely hypocritical. If you eat meat, eggs or dairy products and you oppose the seal hunt then you are a hypocrite.

This is especially true when you consider that Europe is the home of bullfighting.

Look, Europeans: this is an Inuit community north of the Arctic circle. Not a lot of crops grow up there. There isn’t all that much fuel to heat things up, either. Caribou and seal are on the menu, have always been on the menu and, barring some climactic calamity, will always be on the menu. And given the harsh conditions and the lack of fuel, you can expect that very little of the animal is going to be wasted. And, of course, some of it is going to be eaten raw. Can you say that of Sarah Palin?

I have to say that my admiration of Ms. Jean continues to go up and up. Talk about really throwing herself into this job. She truly makes connections with the Canadians she meets, whether it be our troops in Afghanistan or native Inuit up north. If I were ever up north, and given the honour of sampling some of these Inuit delicacies, I could only hope to handle myself with half as much grace as she did. I know Stageleft offers good advice when he says ‘try everything at least once’, but for me it would definitely be a rather grin and bear it moment.

I do have to wonder, though, how many of these shocked voices are Norwegian. They eat raw things too (fish, mostly), and are very efficient consumers of what they catch. I have a suspicion that they, at least, understand…

A Correction to the Correction of the Record

I guess in political punditry, the best advice one can give is: don’t speak too soon. In fact, perhaps you’re better off not speaking at all.

Earlier this month, I said the following:

From the Toronto Star I learn that the federal government remains in surplus, through the first eleven months of the 2008-9 fiscal year.

The surplus is small — $1.3 billion, a far cry from last year’s $13 billion repayment on our debt — and the numbers could still be reduced if March’s numbers are bad, but it’s still a surplus, despite significant downward pressures on the economy throughout this past year.

I don’t know what to say about that, except that I should probably correct the record and say that it turns out the Conservatives didn’t bring us into debt before the release of the stimulus budget after all, as I had claimed. We may be clinging to a balanced budget by our fingernails, but it’s still a triumph of small-c conservative estimates, it seems.

Unfortunately, Flaherty can’t claim that small victory.

A $3.6-billion deficit in March sent the federal government $2.2 billion into the red for the 2008-2009 fiscal year, officials said Friday.

I offer this without much comment, except to say that it seems as though predicting a nation’s finances is something of a roll of the dice. How else can we go from expecting a deficit, to expecting a surplus, and back to expecting a deficit, all in the span of one month?

On the other hand, can we please get some stability for our Canadian dollar?

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