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The Globe and Mail

Everyone wants something from Will and Kate - even the Humane Society

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (L) and his wife Laureen Harper (R) arrive alongside Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at the National War Memorial in Ottawa June 30, 2011.


When all eyes are looking at the most famous newlyweds in the world, what's a smart activist to do?

Take advantage, of course.

First, there was the Vancouver Humane Society firing off its letter to St. James's Palace, asking that the royal pair skip the Calgary Stampede to avoid the "brutal spectacle of cruelty that subjects animals to unnecessary pain, stress and fear." That letter prompted some nice international coverage, and a war of words back home over the ethics behind the Stampede.

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Even though the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have no plans to journey up to Fort McMurray and see first hand the impact of Canada's oil industry, an environmental group hopes they still get the message. (What with conservation, being one of their reported causes.) A collection of tasteful hats - see Tar and Feathers , which depicts a blackened duck accidentally caught in the tar sands - will be on view in Ottawa on Canada Day. The hats were created by Canadian designers and commissioned by Environmental Defence Canada, a non-profit group critical of the oil sands.

Speaking of old hats, Quebec separatists are also planning an anti-monarchist protest in front of the city hall this weekend - promising, as the Independent reported, to do "everything in our power to make [the Duke's]stay with us as disagreeable as possible."

In the end, though, the sheer swell of voices on Twitter, and one cute couple on the ground, is likely to drown out most attempts at politically hijacking the goodwill of this tour. After all, we're a nation preoccupied. And counting Kate's wardrobe changes is so much more fun.

Do groups that piggyback on the royal visit to promote their issue make you more, or less, sympathetic to their cause?

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