When I travel internationally, I often wear a Canadian flag lapel pin because Canadians are liked and respected in many countries. With apologies to my American friends, I recall many occasions when people warm up when they find out I am Canadian, not American.
When I travel to Taiji, should I identify myself as a Canadian? Will it carry any weight? If I take a photograph the Japanese find embarrassing and they unjustly arrest me, will my government come to my rescue? I doubt it. Canada’s record regarding the oceans is shameful.
In 1993 when Paul Watson chased foreign trawlers off the Grand Banks he was arrested by the RCMP and the Sea Shepherd vessel, the Cleveland Amory, was seized. Captain Watson was acquitted in 1995, but by that time, the cod fishery had collapsed.
In April 2008, an armed boarding party seized the Farley Mowat in international waters and arrested the crew members for witnessing and photographing the killing of a seal. Peter Hammarstedt from Sweden and Alex Cornelissen from the Netherlands were not allowed to appear at their own trial. Are you kidding me? I thought Canada was a democracy!
Peter and Alex were each fined $45,000 under the “Seal Protection Act”. This is the sort of kangaroo court that one would expect to find in a country run by a right wing egotistical leader who has no respect for human rights or the environment.
Should I run into any difficulties in Taiji, the impact will be minor in comparison to the regret I would feel if I did nothing.
Should I wear a Canadian flag on my lapel in Taiji? Yes, I probably will, because I can expect support from many Canadians. I will not break any laws in Japan. They do not have draconian laws that make it illegal to photograph the killing of a dolphin, but should I be detained, I have no illusions that I will receive support from the Canadian government.
For the Oceans,