Week in Review: October 23 – 27
October 27, 2017
Welcome to Elizabeth May’s parliamentary week in review! This weekly e-newsletter recaps her work in Parliament when the House is in session. Using the links below, you can watch videos of Elizabeth’s interventions in the House, keep up with her media releases, and read articles she has written.
As well as intervening in a debate around MPs and the code of ethics, Elizabeth challenged Minister Garneau on restoring pre-2012 protections to navigable waters. She joins the final leg of the Canada C3 Expedition, a 150-day journey along all three national coasts, ending in the Saanich-Gulf Islands!
This newsletter covers Elizabeth’s work in the House from October 23, 2017 to October 27, 2017.
* If you are having trouble viewing this email, please view online at: http://elizabethmaymp.ca/category/news/week-in-review/
Point of Order
Current Issues: Bill S-203 Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act
What’s in the Bill
Bill S-203, Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphin Acts, is strong, spearheading legislation that would protect cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) from the trauma of confinement for human entertainment by banning their captive breeding, imports, exports and live captures. The bill does not stop or impede the rescue, research or rehabilitation of injured individuals and owners of currently captive whales and dolphins would be able to keep them, just not breed them. Former Nova Scotia Senator Willie Moore tabled the bill in 2015 and it has been treading water ever since, until this week.
The social and physical isolation of cetaceans in captivity, their dorsal fin collapse, broken teeth, damaged skin, reduced lifespans and stress-induced aggression is morally unacceptable. It is way past time for this legislation and thousands of Canadians agree. Senator Murray Sinclair, who took over the bill’s sponsorship upon former Senator Moore’s retirement, reports that public support for the bill is immense. “Each of us on the committee have probably received a few thousand emails, generally in support of the bill. There are quite a few Canadians out there who want this to pass. I recognize the importance of it.”
Concerning whales and dolphins in captivity, politics and legislation are lagging far behind the general public. Our laws must catch up.
A Whale-Sized Breach of Conduct
Yet despite the overwhelming public support for the bill and abundant scientific research, S-203 has faced unyielding opposition from Conservative Senators, led by Senate Whip Don Plett who has made a mission out of killing the bill.
On September 13, Elizabeth sent a letter to Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd raising concerns about possible past and continuing breaches of the Lobbying Act regarding Bill S-203 and calling for an investigation into the Marineland and the Vancouver Aquarium’s conduct. iPolitics reports that, “The complaint cites several reasons to suspect improper lobbying: social media posts (some of which have since been deleted), comments made by senators at committee, professionally-prepared letters sent to all senators by both facilities and a grassroots letter-writing campaign aimed at senators organized by the aquarium.” Senator Plett is implicated in many of these cases. He has been at the centre of multiple attempts to halt the bill’s progress, which fortunately have failed one by one.
The Bill Swims On
Plett and the Conservatives made some legitimate complaints regarding the bill but as their colleagues on the committee noted, all those issues could be solved by amendments. And on October 26, so they were. Senator Sinclair proposed those amendments and by a vote of 9-5 all of them were accepted. A primary objection to the bill’s original state was that it did not account for indigenous treaty rights and consultations. One of the clauses Sinclair introduced recognizes those treaty rights and s. 35 of the Constitution, “to ensure that Indigenous people in Canada know this is not intended to derogate rights that are protected under s.35.” Five indigenous senators consequently voted in favour of Senator Sinclair’s amendments, moving the bill forward.
This is definite progress, but the bill is far from passed and cetaceans far from being protected from captivity. Immense public support for S-203 helped move it through the committee and that backing must be maintained to ensure safe passage of the bill through both chambers. Please write to the Senate. Write to your Member of Parliament. Start a petition. Make sure every representative knows how much you care about keeping whales, dolphins and porpoises out of captivity.
You can read more about Bill S-203, here.
In the Media
(Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun, October 21)
(Janice Dickinson, iPolitics, October 23)
(Ryan Maloney, HuffPost Canada , October 23)
(Rachel Aiello, CTV News, October 23)
(Holly Lake, iPolitics, October 25)
(Holly Lake, iPolitics, October 26)
Elizabeth introduced the following petitions to the government this week:
View and sign e-petitions currently sponsored by Elizabeth here.
Read the governments’ responses to petitions Elizabeth has introduced here.
Learn about the e-petition process or create one of your own here.
Have Your Say
Engage in government consultations for key legislative items:
Deadline: October 30
*If you would like to submit comments regarding food policy, you can always write to Minister for Food and Agriculture Canada, Lawrence MacAulay. Contact information, here.
Elizabeth May has introduced the following bills:
For a list of private members’ bills Elizabeth May has seconded, please visit elizabethmaymp.ca.
Wednesday, October 25 to Sunday, October 29
Sunday, November 5
Saturday, November 11 to Sunday, November 19
Tuesday, November 28
As always, the support of the Green Party of Canada has been invaluable in enabling Elizabeth to hold the government to account on such a large number of issues. For more information on their work, or to get involved, please visit: https://www.greenparty.ca/