Sealing subsidies don't pay off, by Jeff White
Letters to the Editor, May 9, 2008
Re: Letter, Michael Theodore, April 26 Mr. Theodore says that my using the subsidies issue to bolster what he, without explaining why, calls an otherwise weak argument (that I didn't even make) to end the hunt makes me look hypocritical. I don't understand why he needs to resort to name calling, but perhaps he is only following the fine example set by our Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
Yes. Everything is subsidized. So? The government builds and, in a fashion, maintains roads. That is a subsidy to all businesses. If there were no roads, nobody could get to work, goods could not circulate, people could not purchase finished products, Canada would be reduced to a hunter/gatherer economy and we'd all be making our livings clubbing animals (not to mention each other, because the subsidy for police and the judicial system would also, presumably, be ended.)
The point is that there are rational subsidies and irrational subsidies. Stratford gets subsidies. How many tens of millions of dollars in taxes has the Stratford Festival put into government coffers? How many hundreds of talented Canadian actors has it kept in Canada because this festival gives them work nine months out of the year?
If, for example, a car manufacturer were to approach the Canadian government and say: ' Look, you guys are flushing $60-million down the toilet every year on the seal hunt. You're mobilizing icebreakers, search and rescue ships, helicopters, patrol planes, getting into lawsuits, causing a continuous international brouhaha, all for the price of a condo in Toronto's Yorkville area. Give us a $60-million subsidy every year, we'll build a car plant that will generate $600-million of economic activity a year, you will tax that and make yourselves $150-million a year, so we'll all make money. And, if you don't, we'll accept the Argentinean offer to build it in Tierra del Fuego.' Now that would be an example of a rational subsidy.
But anyone who has completed Grade 3 arithmetic has enough knowledge to figure out that the seal-hunt subsidy is just absolutely nuts.
Murray Teitel, Toronto
Thank you for printing Murray Teitel's piece on the Canadian government and
the harp seal hunt. It's about time that Canada's media and papers start
reporting and working as the media should. The world has a right to know.
Please continue to stand strong and publish the truth and the facts. Be the
paper we can rely on.