International News Desk – At Home: Montreal’s Gay Pride parade hits a stumbling block – In Foreign News: Poaching is a way of life for Eastern Russian villagers

International News Desk – At Home: Montreal’s Gay Pride parade hits a stumbling block – In Foreign News: Poaching is a way of life for Eastern Russian villagers

At Home: Montreal’s Gay Pride parade hits a stumbling block

Controversy surrounding the Gay Pride parade in Montreal this month has been continuing for the several years it has taken organizers to put the event together, and in the last stages of set-up it seemed that the parade was doomed for the scrap heap after all the buildup.

The parade has been on the events calendar for gay-rights groups worldwide, and organizers were expecting to pull in massive international crowds. With visa difficulties for performers and attendees, however, coupled with last-minute organizers pulling out of the event, the parade was stricken from the calendar as recently as May 17 and officially considered ?cancelled? (1).

According to the CBC, however, the event is locked in for July 29 (2). The initial cancellation was due to the fact that the Divers/Cite group, formerly key organizers for the event, refused to step into the role at the last minute after Célébration de la Fierté LGB2T de Montréal pulled out. Finally, the group Celebration Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and all Friends (LGBTA) was arranged and given the task of organizing the parade.

Despite the assumption that the parade will not host as many attendees as it might if it took place in conjunction with the other related festivities, many people are convinced that this is an integral part of Montreal Gay Pride, and without the festive and colourful parade the entire event may not have the clout it has in the past.

After the hassle so many performers and attendees have faced just getting into Canada for the event (if you recall, several visas were refused on the basis that foreigners were criminals in their home countries due to their homosexuality), it seems only fair that organizers pull out all the stops.

(1) Hour, 2007. ?Montreal Gay Pride parade cancelled.? Retrieved July 25, 2007, from http://hour.ca/news/news.aspx?iIDArticle=12097

(2) CBC News, 2007. ?Montreal Gay Pride rolls out on Sunday.? Retrieved July 25, 2007, from http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2007/07/24/qc-gaypride0724.html

In Foreign News: Poaching is a way of life for Eastern Russian villagers

Amidst worldwide calls for stricter legislation on hunting and poaching, it seems that global organizations dedicated to wildlife preservation and environmental conservation have failed to consider the adapted lifestyles of poor fishing villages. Although anti-poaching legislation is meant to benefit the world community on the whole, regional communities are left to suffer when their economies are too frail to support a population that cannot feed itself without the consumption and sale of illegally obtained fish and animal products.

The eastern Russian peninsula of Kamchatka is home to Igor and Sergei, neighbours in a small town called Ust-Bolsheretsk that a Reuters article describes as ?drab? (1). The two men, in fear of international and local law, refused to divulge their last names as they answered questions; however, they explained how the lives of themselves and the rest of their community were based fundamentally on fishing and poaching.

As Igor says, “There’s no work here. If you don’t [fish], you go hungry? (2).

The main problem with this daily poaching of wild salmon is, as Russian Wild Salmon Centre program manager Gennady Inozemtsev says, that ?birds and bears eat salmon, while salmon live only where the natural conditions are just right. It’s all part of one natural chain? (1).

With Kamchatka residents eating up the resources of salmon and any other fish they can get their hands on, the brown bears and local bird populations are suffering.

Clearly, initiatives to stop poaching outright would strike east Russians hard; however, the continuation of current poaching rates will severely cut down native animal and bird populations, damaging the ecosystem permanently.

Kamchatka is in need of more regionalized, unique legislation and investment that might strengthen their legal economy and wean them off of a quickly depleting natural resource.

(1) Reuters, 2007. ?Poaching feeds and bleeds Russian Kamchatka.? Retrieved July 25, 2007, from http://www.reuters.com/article/inDepthNews/idUSL2284689720070627

(2) NPR, 2007. ?Poaching in Far Eastern Russia Threatens EcoSystem.? Retrieved July 25, 2007, from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11439051

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