Canadians try to revive pro-animal bills
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2002:
VANCOUVER, OTTAWA, TORONTO– British Columbia Supreme Court
Justice James Shabbits on Sept-ember 3 ruled in response to a
petition from the Western Canada Wilderness Committee and
EarthJustice that Cattermole Timber Inc. may log 88 hectares of
old-growth spotted owl habitat because, in Shabbits’ view, the B.C.
Forest Practices Code includes no requirement that species be saved
from extirpation or extinction.
Such a requirement does exist in the U.S., where similar
cases have blocked or delayed logging throughout the Northwest, but
not in Canada, whose national endangered species protection law
still includes no enforcement provisions.
The most recent of three Parliamentary effects to add
enforcement measures, the Species At Risk Act, was awaiting Senate
approval when the sitting Parliament was dissolved on September 16.
A new session began on September 30.
“The government did announce in its Throne Speech that it
would reintroduce SARA. The bill does not necessarily have to start
over from scratch, as it has in the past,” Canadian Nature
Federation endangered species program manager Laura Telford e-mailed
on October 4.
An enabling motion to facilitate reintroducing it where it
stood before was already scheduled, Telford said.
“SARA has also been assigned a new number. SARA is now C-1,”
Telford said. “Let us hope that this reflects government priorities.”
Also apparently left hanging with the dissolution of
Parliament was Bill C-15B, a long awaited update of the federal law
pertaining to cruelty to animals. Like SARA, it was considered
likely to be reintroduced by the Liberal government, which was also
likely to try to keep it at the same point in the legislative process.
But Canadian Alliance Party justice critic Vic Toews in
early October asked Ontario Member of Parliament Murray Calder, head
of the Liberal Party rural caucus, to persuade fellow rural Liberals
to return the anti-crulety bill to the introductory level–which
would ensure that it could not pass this year.
“Farmers, hunters, anglers, and scientific researchers
still do not have any guarantees that their livelihood will be
protected,” Loews said.
The Ontario government meanwhile scrapped anticipated
reinforcement of the provincial anti-cruelty code, a cabinet memo
released by Eglinton-Lawrence representative Mike Colle revealed.
“The note, prepared for a September 18 cabinet meeting,
clearly shows the government is set to throw out the recommendations
of a working group that has been working since 1999 to update the
80-year-old Ontario SPCA Act,” charged representatives of leading
humane groups in a joint statement. “Instead the government is set
to proceed only with Bill 129, a private member’s bill that has been
rejected by the Ontario SPCA and numerous animal welfare groups as