To Mr. Jack Layton, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada
Sorry, Mr. Layton.
I have been a supporter of yours and of the NDP -- and before you the CCF since 1951. (Tommy Douglas "converted" me that year; later, Ed Broadbent sealed my enthusiasm for your party.) Since 1951, I have thrown my weight and money behind your party and most recently into the election of Bruce Hyer in Thunder Bay North.
This evening, on CBC National, I saw and heard some person, a member of your caucus, apparently speaking NDP policy,saying that he and his party (your party) are full supporters of the Newfoundland/Labrador slaughter of young seals. If he was not speaking for the NDP, that impression should be corrected. Anyhow, until I am convinced that that is not the case, my vote and support will now be with Elizabeth May and the Greens (and with the Animal Alliance Party.)
I realize that the Liberals and Conservatives make their political decisions on expediency: what decision will win which riding? And I suppose that the seats in Newfoundland and Labrador are what matter most to them. But I had hope that the NDP put conscience and ethics before political gain.
I am sorry to have to make this decision, especially since Bruce Hyer is a kind and good personal friend. I cannot, however, support a party which sees nothing wrong with the slaughter of more than 150,000 young seals: I imagine the outcry there would be if 150,000 fawns were clubbed to death in Northern Ontario annually -- but then, of course, there would be those seats in Sudbury and the Sault and Thunder Bay, wouldn't there?
I presume that your party knows that, with the lack of ice this year in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, tens of thousands of newborn seals cannot survive; that alone should give pause to any support of the seal slaughter.
I read that those who went to the "seal feast" in the parliamentary restaurant this time had a "smacking good feast"; they certainly put a further bad taste in the mouths of Europeans and of humane individuals across Canada. (I wonder if your caucus realizes how many millions of animal lovers and animal rights advocates there are in Canada who would support any political party that made the humane treatment of animals a part of its program. Of the viable parties in Canada, the Greens seem to be those who are closest to this position.
On this laptop computer, I don't have access to Mr. Hyer's e-mail. If you can forward this message to him, I shall be grateful.
On a personal note, Jack, I am sorry to learn of your present illness. We have great admiration for you and Mrs. Layton, and my wife and I wish you a quick and full recovery.
(Rev. Hugh MacDonald)