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Canadian Parliament Votes To Include Seal Skin On Olympic Uniforms



baby-harp-seal

The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver are less than a year away, but the controversy is starting now.

Today, the Canadian Parliament voted unanimously to support a motion calling for the government to seek ways to include seal pelts on the country’s Olympic uniforms.

It seems that the Canadian government is not happy that the European Union has banned Canada’s seal hunt, and they have passed this motion in response.

Bloc Quebec MP Raynald Blais said, “With the upcoming Winter Olympics that will be in Vancouver in 2010, the government has a chance to offer some concrete action to promote seal products. Today we are tabling a motion aimed at studying the possibility to integrate into the Canadian athletes’ uniforms. Is the government ready to act to save an industry?”

Not everyone in Canada is happy with this vote, however. The seal skin measure is purely political, something that is strongly frowned upon in regard to any Olympic Games.

lou-sealCanadian Olympic Committee president Mike Chambers was against including seal in the uniforms for this reason, as well as because it might harm athletes performance. Presumably, Chambers is imaging that the government-created uniforms would look like the San Francisco Giants’ mascot, Lou Seal.

Chambers said:

“I’m used to those in the political arena wishing to attach their issues to the Olympic arena. But this is one … that will not and cannot be allowed to occur. It’s our intent for our athletes to remain free of the politics that arises in and around the Olympic Games. The seal issue, while important, is an issue that has become politicized.”

He added:

“There are political issues all over the world. If the IOC started allowing a patch on everyone’s uniform we’d all look like FI speed racers. Let the politics do the political thing and keep the sport to the games.”

That is 100% correct. If every nation started to incorporate controversial political elements in their uniforms, that could get ugly. Imagine if the U.S. team added dead Iraqis to their Olympic uniforms as snub toward countries who had not supported the invasion of Iraq.

While that’s of course taking it to an unlikely extreme, political statements made by one nation at the Olympics completely undermine the notion of the world coming together for the event. Whether you are pro-seal hunting or against it, it should have no place in the Olympic games.

Canadian MPs vote to include seal skin on Olympic uniforms [Vancouver Sun]

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