Overcoming substantial obstacles, ‘Free Willy’ bill finally passes

OTTAWA – Bill S-203, the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act cleared its final hour of debate at third reading and was passed in the House of Commons today. Bill S-203 was introduced by former Senator Wilfred Moore in December 2015 and then sponsored by Senator Murray Sinclair. After much procedural delay, it then passed in the Senate before moving to the House where it was sponsored by Elizabeth May.

A coalition of over 20 leading marine scientists and stakeholder organizations have supported Bill S-203. Bill S-203 was promoted by Animal Justice, Humane Canada – the federation of SPCAs and Humane Societies, Humane Society International/Canada, marine scientists Dr. Lori Marino and Dr. Naomi Rose of the Whale Sanctuary Project, Ontario Captive Animal Watch, Phil Demers, the former head trainer at Marineland, World Animal Protection, Dr. David Suzuki, the Jane Goodall Institute, and more.

We thank the key Parliamentarians who championed and sponsored this legislation: MP Elizabeth May, Senator Wilfred Moore, Senator Murray Sinclair, MP Fin Donnelly, MP Gord Johns, Senator Peter Harder, Senator Dan Christmas, MP Nathan Cullen, MP Sean Casey, MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, MP Mario Beaulieu, MP Monique Pauzé, MP Nick Whalen, MP Will Amos, Senator Elizabeth Hubley, Senator Janis Johnson, Senator Mary Jane McCallum, and many more.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands)stated: “Canadians have been clear, they want the cruel practice of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity to end. With the passage of Bill S-203, we have ensured that this will happen. Thank you to the government, Senator Moore and Senator Sinclair, as well as Members of Parliament from all sides, and non-profit organizations for helping to ensure this important piece of animal welfare legislation will become law.”

S-203 is the second piece of legislation to become law under the Green Party of Canada and sponsored by Elizabeth May. In December, 2014 Bill C-442, Elizabeth May’s National Lyme Disease Strategy Act received Royal Assent.

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