The Queen's Governor General in Canada is being accused of being a blood lusting Neanderthal after swallowing a dripping chunk of raw seal heart as hundreds of Inuit looked on at an Arctic community feast in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.
Her Excellency Michaelle Jean, on a week-long trip to the Arctic, knelt above a pair of seal carcasses and carved out the meat using a traditional ulu blade. After slashing through the flesh, the Governor General turned to the woman beside her and asked: "Could I try the heart?"
Shortly thereafter, Jean was given a bloody piece of seal heart and ate it whole. She then grabbed a tissue to wipe her blood-soaked fingers. "It's like sushi," she said. "And it's very rich in protein." The Queen's Representative said it was "absolutely delicious."
With an approval rating hovering around 83%, her action has won plaudits from Inuit organizations and Ottawa, where Peter MacKay, the Defence Minister, raved:
I think that was wonderful. I think she’s Canada’s new Braveheart for eating the seal heart. We’re going up there again in the summer, the chief of defence staff and I as we did last year [for a military operation], and I expect there’ll be an opportunity to try some delicious seal. I would encourage all Canadians to try seal. It’s a wonderful product.International Reaction and Condemnation
Her behaviour on Monday is being interpreted as a protest after the EU imposed a ban on seal products on the grounds that hunting the mammals is cruel. An EU spokeswoman yesterday said Jean's gesture was "too bizarre to acknowledge."
Barbara Slee of the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Brussels said she was disgusted by Jean's actions. Animal rights groups say Canada's annual seal hunt is cruel, poorly monitored and provides little economic benefit. Sealers and Canadian authorities say it is humane and provides income for isolated communities.
Dickie Arbiter, the Queen’s former press secretary, was less than impressed telling the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.,
I find what she’s done extraordinary to comprehend. Her role is largely ceremonial and what she does in the political arena is really on the advice of the prime minister and the ministers. And to start cutting up a seal and eating it is sort of making a political statement and not what one expects a Governor General to do.Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported the event under the sensationalist headline, "‘Blood Lust’: Canada’s G-G eats seal heart."
The New York Gawker called Her Excellency the "Sarah Palin of Canada":
Now, the question on everyone's mind has to be, "How will Sarah Palin top this one?" Maybe she can take down a polar bear to eat its heart AND its liver? She's got to do something, because as it stands now, it appears as though Canada is easily winning the "Who has the kookiest female Governor" sweepstakes, and couple that with the fact that they have health care for all their citizens, and it becomes increasingly clear that America is nothing more than Canada's bitch.Canada's Vice Regal agrees to join seal hunt; all Europe collapses in dead faint.
Canadian Press reports that Governor General Michaelle Jean, far from being cowed by the international uproar created by her participation in a seal-eating ceremony, has upped the ante:
In fact, the Governor General’s response could hardly be more defiant: Jean was invited by a group of Inuit to join them on a seal hunt Wednesday evening.As Don Martin pointed out in the National Post: "Far from being heartless to animal suffering, her Arctic snack has sealed Ms. Jean's status as a worthy torchbearer for a Queen who, and this is just a hunch, would probably demand her seal organs seasoned, sauteed and served on silver."
And she accepted.