Seal of Disapproval

The federal government has given their seal of approval to sealskin uniforms for our 2010 Olympians. All parties voted unanimously in support of the move to protest the European Union ban on Canada’s seal hunt.

Because our polar bears are suffering so greatly with the global warming issue, perhaps the government should kill off the remaining polar bear population instead, and market 100% genuine polar fleece. It would be like assisted suicide. As the glaciers melt our guilty conscience could be alleviated by using their pelts for something memorable, like the Olympics. Go team!

If the MPs wanted to knock the cotton socks off the competition, surely they could have come up with more agreeable alternatives. Like uniforms made from Starbucks coffee cup pulp, pitched plastic water bottles or disposable diapers. I suppose if we continue to make our landfills bigger though, we will have more ski hills to boast about. Olympians in 2050 will be challenged by Black Diaper Diamonds and Starbucks slopes, looking flashy and intimidating in the latest endangered species fashions. I’m thinking leatherback turtle helmets, Blue Racer snakeskin boots, down jackets stuffed with the feathers of at risk species like the Whooping Crane and Eskimo Curlew. A high-end option would be the Burrowing Owl down jacket with a Swift Fox collar.

Athletes could enter the opening ceremonies parade proudly wearing Woodland Caribou coats and Vancouver Island Marmot fur hats. Instead of bouquets of roses, podium winners would receive an attractive arrangement of Canada’s most endangered flowers: Western Prairie Fringed Orchid, Seaside Bird’s Foot Lotus, Small White Lady’s Slipper and Golden Paintbrush.

I’m wondering if the MPs who voted in favour of the sealskin sweatsuits brainstormed with New Democrat MLA Mike Farnsworth. In response to the January murder spree in the Fraser Valley of BC by United Nations gang members, Farnsworth proposed introducing a bill in the legislature that would regulate body armour use with gang members. Farnsworth said only police should be wearing protective body armour, and under his bill it would be an offence if someone was caught in armour without a police permit to do so. Good one! That’ll stop the criminals from wearing the vests!

I picture the politicians yapping excitedly with hamster cheeks packed with beluga caviar and shark fin soup, “Farnsworth, get a load of our idea! To help promote seal products we’re gonna cash in on the Olympics and the 2010 haute couture is going to be clubbed seal!” Bloc Quebec MP Raynald Blais probably fell asleep that night with dreams of sugarplums and sealskin spandex dancing in his head. Double Olympic champion speedskater Catriona Le May Doan retired all too soon—imagine her gams in seal! No blubber there.

Mike Chambers, President of the Canadian Olympic Committee stated in The Vancouver Sun that, to the happiness of barking seals everywhere that “adding seal products to Olympians’ gear would not only mar athletes’ performance, but politicize the Games.”

South Vancouver Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh supports the seal hoodies because it directly supports an industry in the Atlantic. Providing BC Bud marijuana swag bags would also support west coast grow operations. Understandably, aboriginals have incorporated seal into their wardrobes for years if not centuries. The waterproof quality of seal boots and coats is a no-brainer to locals. Crocs and Haviana flip-flops tend not to make the Inuit catwalks. But, do our Olympic figure skaters and luge athletes need seal gear too when there is ample Gore-tex to be had?

I wonder what Montreal artist Jana Sterback thinks of all this. In 1991 she was grilled when her “meat dress” was hung at the National Gallery. She artistically stitched together 50 pounds of flank steak and hung the “dress” on a mannequin to artistically rot under the name of Vanitas: A Flesh Dress for an Albino Anorectic. The governement think-tanks and Sterback could design a knock-out Olympic clubbed seal collection that would leave Jean-Paul Gaultier and Vera Wang anxiously thumbing the Classifieds.

Supporting Canada’s notorious seal hunt with piggyback Olympic marketing is an idea that needs further fleshing out. I thought the world was upside down when Roots Canada was designing uniforms for the US. This year, the Americans will be wearing garb from Polo Ralph Lauren. The only harm done to animals will be the stitching of horses, Polo’s trademark.

When the rest of the world is trying to eliminate sweat shops and create greener clothing lines from renewable resources like bamboo and hemp, Canada goes straight for the jugular, of seals.


*With less fanfare, Sterback created Chair Appollinaire using flank steak as her chosen medium again, with a little black button thread on a polyester resin structure. View The Bread Bed (made with loaves of bread) and Catacombs of soild chocolate and the Vanitas dress under Images on her Web site : (unsure if there are downloadable patterns for the dress though).

Categories: The Kitchen Sink, Things with Fur and Feathers | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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