Canadian Leader Gets to Heart of Matter

She meets with Inuit and bites into raw seal ticker

By Greg Wilson
|  Tuesday, May 26, 2009  |  Updated 4:15 PM EDT
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Canadian Leader Gets to Heart of Matter

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Canada's Governor General Michaelle Jean, here with President Obama, bit into the heart of a freshly slaughtered seal while traveling in the country's northern region.

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Sarah Palin may hunt moose, but the Alaska governor looks prim and proper compared to Michaelle Jean, Canada's governor general.

Jean gutted a seal slaughtered for her during an official Arctic trip, cut out its heart and ate it to show solidarity with Inuit seal hunters, according to CTV.

Hundreds of Inuit attended a feast in Rankin Inlet in Nunavut, where Jean stopped on her tour of nine remote northern communities this week. Jean's is Canada's head of state and was meeting the Inuit as a representative of Queen Elizabeth II.

After the seal was slaughtered, Jean reportedly knelt above the carcass and used a traditional ulu blade to slice meat off the skin.

"Could I try the heart?" Jean asked her obliging hosts.

After chomping into the seal's ticker, Jean pronounced it "absolutely delicious" and said it tasted "like sushi."

As she wiped her blood-soaked fingers with a tissue, she explained her support for Canada's traditional seal hunt and trade, which locals fear will be devastated by a European ban on seal products.

The European Parliament recently voted to endorse an EU ban on seal products in protest against commercial hunting methods, although it will only take effect in 2010.

Northern aboriginals are exempt from the ban, but they worry it inevitably affect their livelihoods too.

"Once you destroy a market for one group, it is destroyed for all," explained Inuit leader Mary Simon.

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