Canadian taxpayers pay to rescue seal hunters
The Canadian Coast Guard is sending its heaviest icebreakers to rescue 450 seal hunters whose boats have been trapped by floating ice off Northern Newfoundland. [WaPo]
Update: I admire the Coast Guard for undertaking this mission and I'm proud that Canada has such advanced capabilities for rescuing people. I certainly don't bear the sealers any ill-will. I'm ambivalent about the hunt itself, but that's neither here nor there. These guys are in trouble. The Canadian way is to help first and ask questions later.
I just think it's important to keep track of the public and private costs of the hunt. The companies who profit shouldn't be allowed to quietly outsource occupational safety to the Canadian government.
If the Canadian taxpayers are footing the bill for an elaborate rescue mission, that's a precedent (and an ongoing liability) that should be taken into account when we assess the costs and benefits of allowing the seal hunt to continue--especially if there were any indication that these types of crises might become more common in the future due to climate change.