Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Annals of Canadian Activism

This Magazine Staff

Sad about the news of Bob Hunter’s passing on May 2nd. I work in a complex of small not-for-profits here in ‘the big insensitive’ (Toronto), and there are a number of enviro-groups in residence. Mr. Hunter was a bit of a legend in these parts, as I’m sure he was elsewhere… and not just because he read the newspaper on television while wearing his bathrobe.

Bob Hunter was one of the original Greenpeacers. Check out his listing on Wikipedia.

I remember reading a book about that first voyage (the Greenpeace, originally the Phyllis Cormack set sail from Canada’s west coast to go and protest a US nuclear test in Amchitka, Alaska), and laughing at a story about Hunter and his crewmates getting drunk in a small fishing port in Alaska. While walking back to their boat along the pier they came across a rack of crab traps. Inside the traps was someone’s latest haul of Alaska king crab, and the budding enviro-warriors decided it was their duty to symbolically liberate at least one of these majestic crustaceans. They broke into a trap, grabbed a giant crab, ran to the edge of the wharf and threw it toward the ocean… and since the tide had gone out, the crab sailed majestically to the rocky bed beneath, where it exploded on impact.

I prefer my activists to have human foibles. Throw Hunter in there for the next round of The Greatest Canadian.

UPDATE: I stepped on Joyce’s Bob Hunter post — see below. Sorry Joyce, but our two posts make for a nice beginning to what could be a good discussion.

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