Last night I stood in the kind of hip club space I haven't visited since my 20s, jammed with nominees for the annual Canadian Online Publishing Awards. That spirit of course imbues our own upstart site here at HuffPost Canada, which was nominated for no fewer than eight awards. You can imagine how proud I was, as the former Managing Editor of Blogs here, to see our talented writers walk away with both the Gold and Silver awards for Best Blog in the daily and weekly newspapers, and broadcasters category.
Nathan Winograd is the leader of the No Kill movement, a genuine revolution in animal welfare. Over three million healthy and adoptable pets will be killed next year in America's shelters. Not, however, if Winograd and his growing army have any say. I caught up with him a few weeks after the No Kill Advocacy Centre's annual conference in Washington D.C.
On August 4, I was honoured to receive a humanitarian award from PETA for introducing Bill S-210 to end Canada's commercial seal slaughter. No international markets remain for this trade, but politicians from all parties prop it up each year with millions in wasted tax dollars. It's time for Canadian politicians to face the fact that the commercial seal-slaughter industry is over.
The reality is that the seals being hunted are not an endangered species and are not being hunted in numbers that might cause them to become endangered. In the areas of the world where seals are hunted there are few, perhaps no, viable alternatives. There are limited economic opportunities and few other food sources.
People naturally assume that the animal rights movement is simply an extension of the human rights movement. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), however, is a political movement primarily focused on the right to determine when and how an animal should die. Those who donate to PETA are almost never aware of this.
Why is a so-called animal rights group willing to go to war over its right to kill healthy pets unnecessarily? "No Kill" -- defined as a euthanasia rate of not more than 10 per cent of a given shelter's pets -- has been achieved wherever it has been strictly implemented. Perhaps the most sickening aspect of PETA's assault on the No Kill movement is that it blocks groups from rescuing animals in high-kill shelters.
The American media and general public were recently sent into a tizzy over Mayor Michael Bloomberg's announcement that a 16-ounce limit would be on New York City's sugary drinks. What's next? I'll tell you what: foie gras. Starting July 1, Californians will no longer be able to enjoy the deliciously contentious food.
Over the past eight months, I have had the pleasure of being one of Conrad Black's editors. His blogs have arrived weekly from prison like clockwork. Often I wondered how he wrote these from prison. I don't just mean the mechanics (because those were obviously an issue: How do you get access to a computer? Do you have Internet?). But how did he manage to keep up on everything? Reading his highly informed and topical blogs you would never know this was a man almost entirely cut off from the information sources we take for granted. Here's the bottom line: The key to Conrad's survival has been his mind.
Bill Maher is pretty much the last person you'd expect to get sucked in by PETA, Ingrid Newkirk's cult of euthanasia. For Maher to uncritically cheerlead for one of the ugliest cults in America is truly disheartening. And, unlike most of the celebrity cults, PETA does real damage, on a gruesome scale.
Happy Earth Day! I hope to spend today, ideally, puttering about my garden. Yes, we can all aspire to do something more high-minded, but even just beautifying your own patch of soil contributes to the pleasure of everyone around you (including even something as simple as a window box).
Relaxing, too, will help me recover from what was truly an amazing week here at HuffPost -- and what promises to be another in the coming week. In home news, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney joined our editorial team on Wednesday for dinner -- and a no-holds-barred question session, including questions from our readers. You'll be impressed by his frankness.
While Rick Santorum was dropping out of the GOP political race for personal reasons, and Hilary Rosen was making personal attacks on Anne Romney for political reasons, AOL/HuffingtonPost office politics became big personal news (at least for those of us working here): Microsoft agreed to buy $1.06 billion worth of AOL patents. (Yes, Dr. Evil, that's one. billion. dollars -- or $999,440,106.20 CDN).I can't claim any insider information as to what this means to AOL/Huffpost in general, or AOL/Huffpost Canada in specific. At minimum, I'm hoping for a new stapler.
Two major government budgets were released this week, by Ontario and the Feds respectively; as widely anticipated, both will balance spending and eliminate debt by the end of the year with no cuts to any social services. Critics from the left and right applauded the leaders for showing such fiscal responsibility while managing to balance the needs of all Canadian citizens. Asked how he expected to deal with the looming crisis with old age pensions, Prime Minister Harper noted that the budget called for the phasing out of seniors beginning in 2016... Okay, now that I've got my April Fool's joke out of the way, let's look back upon the messy conflagration of human events that constitutes last week's news highlights here at Huffpost.
It's not often you get an environment minister sitting down with a bunch of reporters and editorial staff to a no-holds-barred question-and-answer session, let alone a minister who has become as controversial as Peter Kent.
Yet that's what happened on Thursday at HuffPost, as we initiated our series of monthly lunches with Very Important People You Need to Hear From. When we informed the minister going in that he was our guinea pig, he wondered aloud if he was not in fact our sacrificial lamb? Not quite.