Thursday, April 6, 2006

Boycott Canada!

The Washington Post reports that Maine may pick up some business from a boycott protesting Canada's harp seal hunt:

Riordan's Saloon, Buddy's Crabs and Ribs and others have joined a year-old boycott sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States. More than 400 restaurants, food distributors and grocery stores have joined the boycott, the animal welfare organization said....

The impact will be larger at Buddy's, where about 40 percent of the seafood comes from Canada, said owner Kevin Blonder. "The Prince Edward mussels are very popular," Blonder said. "They're nice, clean thick mussels. We'll switch to Maine mussels, and salmon will go from Canadian to Chilean, and snow crab will go from Canadian to Alaskan."

As a Mainer, I'm glad that the Maine mussel farmers will have a chance to make some extra sales. However, I'm not sure that refusing to do trade with Canadian mussel farmers -- who probably have nothing to do with the seal hunt -- will make the seal hunt any less likely to continue.

As I think of the history of boycotts, the only one that readily comes to my mind as having gained the desired results is when the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama.

A little research leads to a few more examples:

Outstanding examples are the refusal of American colonials to buy British goods after the passage of the Stamp Act (1765), the Chinese boycott of U.S. goods (1905) because of the poor treatment of Chinese in America, the refusal of Gandhi's followers to buy British-made goods in India, and the Arab League boycott (1948) of all companies dealing with the state of Israel.



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