Monday, September 15, 2008

Green Party and the Seal Hunt

I recently wrote the Green Party of Canada for two reasons. First to congratulate them on their leaders debate victory. I had been dismayed by the NDP blocking Elizabeth May from the Leaders' Debate and was thinking about changing allegiances. While the NDP did back down, they as yet have not replied to my inquiry as a member why they were trying to block her in the first place. My second reason for writing the Green Party was to ask them about their position on the Newfoundland seal hunt. They were more responsive to my emails, and their position on the Newfoundland seal hunt appears below.

As a result, I think I'll be sticking with the NDP. The Green Party argument that
it is "the largest killing of marine mammals anywhere on the planet" is vacuous. Just because something is big doesn't make it qualitatively different from something that is any other size. It is hypocritical to argue against the seal hunt unless you advocate against all animal harvest, and I don't think they do. That would be a more defensible position than singling out a particular industry because it has a bad reputation.

The perceived cruelty of the seal hunt is mostly just misrepresentative propaganda of the IFAW, showing a few sealers committing crimes for which they were charged. Governments are supposed to work with the facts, not the rumors and misinformed ideas of foreign countries and lobby groups. It seems the Greens wouldn't be up to that task after all. I also disagree that the local impact is minor. The annual seal hunt in Newfoundland provides a living for many rural families who work very hard to provide a product for which there is a market. Any party that doesn't support a sustained and managed sealing industry doesn't get my vote.

Their response, in full:

Dear Christopher,

Thank you very much for your question regarding the commercial seal hunt in Newfoundland. Also, thank you for your support in getting Ms. May in the debates on October 1 and 2... it was a real showing of Canadian democracy at its best.

The Green Party of Canada has developed an extensive vision for Canada entitled Vision Green. If you are interested in our complete platform please visit and click on "Issues".

The seal hunt is viewed by many people in Canada and abroad as an inhumane activity that is not ecologically sound nor sustainable. This is particularly true now that climate change has increased pup mortality in spring due to a lack of, and thin ice.

The annual seal hunt is the largest killing of marine mammals anywhere on the planet. Its enormity threatens Canada's overseas reputation for little local value.

Our Vision

The Green Party does not support a commercial seal hunt in Canada. We are not opposed to subsistence hunting by aboriginal peoples and local communities. However, we consider seal hunting, like whaling, to be a threat to the marine ecosystem. The loss of ice due to climate change threatens seal populations and exacerbates what many believe is an already unsustainable level of hunting:
Again, thank you for your concerns about the seal hunt and taking the time to email us. If you have any questions do not hesitate to email, call or visit our website.


Tyler Andrews
Green Party Information Centre
Centre d'information du Parti Vert

Vote for Tomorrow
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Friday, September 12, 2008

Samsung Spam

I recently asked Samsung a question about a product, and of course I ended up on their crappy webmail list. Today I finally got around to clicking "unsubscribe", and this is the form I was brought to:

"Dear Samsung Customer,

Occasionally we send email messages with news and special offers. If you would prefer not to receive such messages

in the future, simply remove yourself from our email list by selecting the option below and clicking the 'Update' button.

[] Please remove me from your email list.

[X] On second thought, please continue to notify me of new products and promotions

[] Please change my email address to: ________________


Yes, they pre-select an "I've changed my mind" button when you click "unsubscribe" in their email. If I hadn't been paying attention, which is entirely likely, I would have assumed it was the usual blah blah and just clicked "update", thinking I was getting out.

What I really don't understand is who Samsung thinks will actually click to unsubscribe and then change their mind. Probably no one, but everyone who sees this smarmy form will be slightly ticked off at the audacity of pre-selecting a form to do exactly the opposite of what you've already indicated as a preference. It's subtle, but now I'm annoyed at Samsung more than I was when they were just spamming me. Annoying potential customers is not a good business practice!

It got worse when I pressed "update" on the form:

"We're sorry to see you go. Please allow 7-10 business days for us to process your request."

7-10 days to process a single database command? Are they still using punch cards or something?