To Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean, for chowing down this week on a freshly-cut heart from a seal in the northern reaches of Nunavut, and making no bones about it. She smiled and wiped the blood from her mouth as the cameras rolled.
Jean demonstrated Canada has a unique society of people who must survive on what’s offered to them from the land.
A seal in the north is a beef cow in the south. A fresh seal heart to the Inuit of Nunavut is akin to a slab of roast prime-rib to those on the Prairies.
Jean’s actions drew worldwide astonishment from animal rights groups and European countries, who called her actions bizarre and a limp promotion to continue Canada’s controversial seal hunt.
When asked if her actions were intended as a message to Europe, Jean replied: “Take from that what you will.”
Good for her.
Her bold actions have won Canada-wide applause, alerting this country to what it takes for some of its citizens to survive in sometimes harsh climates. She’s been dubbed “Canada’s new Braveheart.”
Enter the animal right’s people, and European citizens, who love their beef and sheep — but wouldn’t touch a seal heart with a 3.5-metre pole and oppose the annual seal hunt.
The groups described Jean’s actions as “offensive, sad and bizarre.”
“It’s too bizarre to acknowledge,” said Barbara Helfferich, a spokeswoman for the European Union Environment.
When was the last time Helfferich paid $21 for a frozen chicken and $8.90 for two litres of milk? That’s what the European-condemned, seal-eating Inuit must pay in Nunavut.
These critic lack any perspective on the harsh realities of life in the north.
The legendary country singer Hank Williams Sr. once wrote: “If you minded your business, then you wouldn’t be minding mine.”
Good advice for European critics.
To Dustin Harper, for his dramatic rescue of a woman from a burning building early Thursday in downtown Red Deer.
As embers rained down on him, Harper carried Dorothy Sparks to safety from her suite at 4712 51st Ave.
This was an incomprehensible act of concern for a fellow human being. Harper made the ultimate sacrifice by putting his own safety on the line.
The drama unfolded shortly after midnight. Harper and friends were gathered at Original Joe’s when the blaze next door erupted.
Harper and one of his friends bolted from the pub, raced up the stairs of the burning structure and started pounding on Sparks’ door. Another person assisted.
“I ran in and the lady was just getting out of bed like she was just getting up,” Harper said. “I ran in and I yelled ‘Your house is on fire. You’ve got to get out.’ ”
“I scooped her up because she was in her socks . . . and started running out and the embers are coming down.”
Friends outside started screaming that the roof was about to cave in and the pair emerged from the building as embers and chunks of the roof fell around them.
Sparks found her guardian angel. “(Dustin) got me out and I’m thankful for that. I want to thank Dustin for saving my life,” she said.
It is remarkable what a person is capable of doing when confronted with a life-and-death situation — and only a split second to think about it.
Rick Zemanek is an Advocate editor.