McCartney’s seal stance a sore point for some
By JENNIFER STEWART Staff Reporter
Thu. Apr 10 -
Paul McCartney’s stance against Canada’s controversial seal hunt has some music lovers saying they will boycott his Halifax concert if he comes to the Commons this summer.
Some readers commenting on The Chronicle Herald’s website Wednesday were up in arms that the former Beatle would consider doing a concert in Atlantic Canada just two years after his highly publicized visit to protest the seal hunt.
One reader wrote in the website’s comments section that he or she will always love the Beatles and their music but has lost all respect for Mr. McCartney.
"As I recall, he made a big protest against the seal hunt," C. Gaudet said. "He’s got balls for wanting to play here and no memory of what he did."
"There are lots of other good entertainers that could come here without all the baggage," said another reader. "If you want to redeem yourself, pub-licly denounce your anti-sealing campaign."
Many McCartney fans are excited by the news of the tentative concert but fear a repeat of the Celine Dion debacle, where her manager-husband cited negative publicity as the reason to scrap a show scheduled for August on the Commons.
"This is what’s wrong with Halifax," Tom Mason wrote on the Herald website Wednesday. "Everyone has such a negative opinion of everything that nothing ever gets accomplished."
Jody Nelson, a longtime McCartney fan from Dartmouth, also disagreed with the singer’s critics.
"I don’t care how old he is, I don’t care about his stance on the seal hunt, I don’t even care if they have any opening acts, I just hope they get the deal done," Mr. Nelson said.
Mr. McCartney visited the Maritimes in March 2006 with his now ex-wife Heather Mills in hopes of persuading the Canadian government to put an end to the annual seal hunt. He made a number of public appearances that included a televised debate with Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams on Larry King Live and a helicopter trip to the ice floes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to see the seals up close.
Mayor Peter Kelly said the seal hunt kerfuffle has nothing to do with Mr. McCartney’s music and the former Beatle’s personal beliefs shouldn’t be tossed into the mix.
"The opportunity to have him here is certainly advantageous," Mr. Kelly said.
Local concert promoter Harold MacKay said Tuesday that Mr. McCartney and his staff will decide in the next few weeks whether to go ahead with a Halifax show this summer. A group representing the rock legend’s tour staff arrived in Halifax last weekend to check out the Commons site.
"They left here very, very impressed," Mr. MacKay said Tuesday from his Power Promotional Concepts office in Dartmouth.
Bridget Curran of the Atlantic Canadian Anti-Sealing Coalition said Mr. McCartney and his views are welcome in Halifax any time.
"He is an amazing singer-songwriter and compassionate human being," she wrote online.
"All baby-seal-killer supporters who are complaining about him . . . can stay home (from the concert) and sulk — you won’t be missed."