Rise of Quebec politician to WSPA board presidency raises questions

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2008:
LONDON–The World Society for the
Protection of Animals board on June 5, 2008
elected Montreal attorney and 20-year WSPA board
member Dominique Bellemare to serve as board
president. This might have occasioned little
notice, except that Bellemare is a prominent
Canadian politician, who has no visible record
on such prominent Canadian political topics as
the Atlantic Canada seal hunt and efforts to
update the 1893 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Bellemare’s web site,
<dominiquebellemare.com>, as of his ascent to
the WSPA board presidency made no mention of
either animal issues or WSPA, but his 2004
campaign biography, distributed as part of an
unsuccessful run for Parliament, mentioned
involvement with the pro-hunting organization
Ducks Unlimited, as well as with WSPA and the
Humane Society of Canada.

WSPA has had strained relations with the
Humane Society of Canada, founded in 1993 by
former WSPA representative Michael O’Sullivan.
Bellemare, then-Humane Society of the U.S.
president John Hoyt, and then-HSUS vice
president Paul Irwin completed the founding
board. Both were also on the WSPA board. Irwin,
born in Canada but living in Maryland, claimed
Canadian residence on a passport application in
order to get around a Canadian requirement that
the majority of board members be Canadians. His
Canadian passport was later revoked, and an
Ontario judge ordered HSUS to repay $740,000 that
it seized from the Humane Society of Canada after
the HSUS executives split with O’Sullivan.
Involved in Progressive-Conservative
politics since his middle teens, Bellemare
earned a degree in biology in 1983, added a law
degree in 1987, and was admitted to the Quebec
bar in 1988. Bellemare lost runs for Parliament
in both 1997 and 2004, but co-chaired the 1995
Progressive-Conservative national convention,
and was national secretary of the party when it
merged with Alliance Canada in 2003 to form the
present Conservative Party.
With WSPA, “In recent years Bellemare
has occupied the positions of [board] secretary,
junior vice president, chairman of the
nominating committee etc.,” WSPA director
general Peter Davies told ANIMAL PEOPLE. “I
forward to you a paraphrasing of Dominique’s
response to your queries:
“First of all, on the web, ” Bellemare
said through Davies, “you do find interventions
I did on behalf of WSPA, including dolphinaria,”
but ANIMAL PEOPLE found no such “interventions,”
found only one incidental mention of his name as
a WSPA board member in a WSPA publication
addressing dolphinaria, and found no record of
his involvement in either of the most recent
Montreal-area campaigns against marine mammal
captivity. One blocked a 1993-1995 attempt by
the Montreal Biodome to acquire belugas; the
other blocked a 2001 plan by the Granby Zoo to
acquire dolpins.
“As far as Ducks Unlimited is involved,”
Bellemare continued via Davies, “I gave them a
few donations. In Canada, Ducks Unlimited is
mostly viewed as a conservator of habitats, and
they are quite involved in a large project in my
constituency, where they signed a big agreement
to save a large eco-sensitive area in an urban
environment. They are quite different than their
U.S. counterpart, who are mostly a hunters
association. It is such a conservation
organisation that the Canadian magazine of Ducks
Unlimited Canada is strictly about conservation,
with no hunting articles, because it upsets too
much their members/donors!”
States the Ducks Unlimited Canada web
site, “Ducks Unlimited Canada was founded in
1938 by sportsmen. Today, DUC continues to
enjoy the support of conservation-minded hunters
across the countryĆ  DUC supports waterfowl
hunting.” Another DUC web page lists “hunting
Added Bellemare through Davies,
“Regarding my association with the Conservative
Party of Canada,” which currently governs Canada
and supports the seal hunt, “yes it is true,
but the Conservative Government is not more pro
seal hunt than all the previous Canadian
governments, all parties taken into
consideration! The [current] quotas are not the
highest in 25 years either.” In fact, the
current Canadian sealing quotas are the highest
since quotas have been set. The 335,000 seals
pelted in 2006 were the most killed in at least
53 years.
Bellemare at press time for the June 2008
printed edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE had not answered
questions about his role as a partner in the
Montreal law firm Bloomfield, Bellemare. His
2004 campaign biography, posted at
identified him as “associate at Bloomfield,
Bellemare since 1991,” with no mention of any
change in employment status.
Subsequent to publication of the June
2008 printed edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE, Bellemare
wrote in a demand for an apology and retraction,
“I stopped being a partner or even worked for
Bloomfield Bellemare in 1998.”
Bloomfield, Bellemare senior partner
Harry J.F. Bloomfield was convicted in the U.S.
in November 2002 “for using corporations and bank
accounts in secrecy havens such as Belize and
Liberia to facilitate securities fraud schemes
orchestrated by their New York clients,” wrote
Stephanie Ayers of Financial Crime News in an
April 2005 special report.
Summarized Gretchen Morgenson of The New
York Times of the April 2001 indictment, “Stuart
Creggy, a senior partner at Talbot Creggy in
London and a former Queen’s Magistrate, or a
judge, there and Harry J. F. Bloomfield, a
lawyer and a Queen’s Counsel in Montreal and
formerly honorary counsel for the country of
Liberia, were charged with conspiracy, criminal
possession of forged instruments and falsifying
business records. Beginning in 1993, according
to the indictment, the two lawyers began creating
dummy corporations and bank accounts to help
three principals in a New Jersey brokerage firm
manipulate shares in a handful of small
The Bloomfield case was further described
by New York County district attorney’s office
investigations division bureau chief Arthur D.
Middlemass in testimony to a March 29, 2006
hearing on “Offshore banking, corruption, and
the war on terrorism” convened by the U.S. House
of Representatives Committee on International
Relations Subcommittee on Oversight &
The Bloomfield case appears to have
concluded in June 2006, when Anthony Lin of the
New York Law Journal reported, “Bloomfield and
Creggy were both convicted on charges of
conspiracy and falsifying business records, but
the Appellate Division, 1st Department ruled
Thursday in People v. Bloomfield that the
prosecution had not proved that Bloomfield
possessed the ‘intent to defraud’ required for
conviction. Even though Bloomfield had been
“instrumental” in getting [a former Liberian
diplomat] to sign 16 letters claiming his
ownership of offshore companies, the appellate
panel said prosecutors had not shown the lawyer
knew these letters’ purpose was to mislead the
Securities and Exchange Commission… While [the
court] found that Bloomfield’s conviction was
against the weight of the evidence, it concluded
the evidence supported Creggy’s conviction.”

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