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View Bruce Stanton Profile
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-21 14:54 [p.29473]
I have the honour to inform the House that when this House did attend Her Excellency this day in the Senate chamber, Her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:
C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms—Chapter 9.
C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada—Chapter 10.
S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts (ending the captivity of whales and dolphins)—Chapter 11.
C-82, An Act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting—Chapter 12.
C-59, An Act respecting national security matters—Chapter 13.
C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence—Chapter 14.
C-77, An Act to amend the National Defence Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 15.
C-78, An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act—Chapter 16.
C-84, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (bestiality and animal fighting)—Chapter 17.
C-58, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 18.
C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 19.
C-93, An Act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis—Chapter 20.
C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020—Chapter 21.
C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act—Chapter 22.
C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages—Chapter 23.
C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families—Chapter 24.
C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 25.
C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast—Chapter 26.
C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act—Chapter 27.
C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 28.
C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures—Chapter 29.
It being 2:55 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, September 16, 2019, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 2:55 p.m.)
The 42nd Parliament was dissolved by Royal Proclamation on September 11, 2019.
Aboriginal languagesAboriginal peoplesAccess for disabled peopleAccess to informationAdjournmentAgriculture, environment and natural res ...British ColumbiaBudget 2019 (March 19, 2019)C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tarif ...C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majest ...C-48, An Act respecting the regulation o ... ...Show all topics
View Rachel Blaney Profile
View Rachel Blaney Profile
2019-06-10 11:03 [p.28779]
Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to speak to this important issue today.
I want to thank the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for bringing Bill S-203 to the House. The bill looks at the reality of phasing out the captivity of dolphins, whales and porpoises.
The riding that I represent, North Island—Powell River, is along the ocean, and these are beings that we live with. That interaction is very important to us. I think of the times I have spent watching this wildlife engage with us in their free natural state. It is important that we are talking about this issue here today.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank my caucus colleague, the member for Port Moody—Coquitlam, for his dedication to the country's oceans, rivers and streams. His commitment to protecting the wildlife that lives within them has resonated with people across Canada. He will not be sitting in the House with us much longer, so it is important to acknowledge the work he has done on files like this one.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. The member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley has always had a special place in my heart because he represents the area where I grew up. I really respect his connection with the communities in that largest of ridings in British Columbia.
A couple of weeks ago, the member came to my riding to talk about his private member's bill on zero-waste packaging. That issue is a huge concern in my riding. Packaging made of plastic takes so long to deteriorate and we know the impact it is having on our oceans.
Without that member's work we would not be standing here today debating Bill S-203. I understand that he is working with the minister right now to push forward his important piece of legislation around zero-waste packaging. It deals with an important issue to make sure we do not fill our landfills with plastics anymore.
If it were not for the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley accepting a letter from me, the member for Courtenay—Alberni, the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, the member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, our colleague from Victoria and Laurel Collins asking him to give up his spot on today's private members' hour, we would not be debating this bill today. I want to acknowledge that and thank him for continuing to work so hard on his zero waste packaging legislation. He will not give up, which is something that I appreciate deeply about the member.
Bill S-203 proposes to phase out the captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoises in Canada, except in situations like rehabilitation or rescue.
New Democrats will always support the ethical and useful research of these beings in the water, but the research can take place in the wild. Scientists in the wild environment can get a realistic view of the natural behaviours of these animals without causing a lifetime of pain and suffering, which we know is the reality when they are held in captivity.
What we have heard from scientists is that these beings suffer in confinement. They suffer a sense of isolation, serious health problems, reduced lifespans, high infant mortality rates, sensory deprivation, as well as trauma from the transfer to other parks and calf separation.
This bill speaks to an important issue where we can get it right and do the right thing. Given the evidence, captive facilities cannot provide for these beings' social or biological needs.
Keeping them in captivity is cruel. They are intelligent social animals. They are acoustically sensitive marine beings that spend their time in the vast oceans. They dive deep down to places many of us will never see.
When we look at their freedom in the wild, to swim freely, to dive deeply, when we think about their confinement, it is so much less. We have heard it is less than 1% of the range that they are used to. Can members imagine that? None of us in this place can imagine being in our environment, doing the things that we do, and suddenly being put into a small box and told that we have to be successful and perform for other people. We cannot ask these beings to do that.
It reminds me of what Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, do better.” This is an opportunity in this House to move forward because we now know better, so it is time for us to do better.
Unlike many issues, this really is not a partisan issue. It is a moral issue. It is a bill that is supported by science. We know that whales, porpoises and dolphins in captivity suffer in a way that cannot be justifiable. We know that this bill, Bill S-203, is a reasonable one. It is a balanced piece of legislation. It grandfathers the process and it gives zoos and aquariums time to phase out this practice. This is the right thing to do and I hope everyone in this House takes the opportunity to support this.
When we think about the grandfathering process out of captivity that Bill S-203 proposes, we know it will do important things. It will ban live captures under the Fisheries Act, except for rescues when some being out there needs help. Currently, captures are legal if they are licensed. We all need to pause and take a moment to think about what that means. We know that the last capture that happened was belugas near Churchill in 1992, so it is a practice that is not being implemented. However, the fact that it is still there is very concerning, and this bill would remove it.
Bill S-203 also bans imports and exports, except if licensed for scientific research. This is a hard one, but we want to see an open water sanctuary. We want to see the process happen in a way that is best for the whale, the dolphin or the porpoise. We want to make sure it is under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. These are important factors that this bill can bring forward.
Finally, this bill would ban breeding under the animal cruelty provisions of the Criminal Code. This is also very important.
Right now there is a bill before the Senate, Bill C-68, that would prohibit the captures but it would not restrict imports or exports by law nor would it ban breeding. This is why we need this bill. This is why I will be supporting it. This is the action that needs to be taken to complete what is happening already.
Twenty marine mammal biologists from around the world released a letter supporting Bill S-203. They said, “At a minimum, the maintenance of odontocetes [toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises] in commercial captive display facilities for entertainment purposes is no longer supported or justified by the growing body of science on their biological needs.”
We know it is the right thing to do and it is time to make sure that people have the opportunity to see these beautiful animals in the wild, to respect what they need and to create a new relationship. Keeping them enclosed is not the right way to go.
When we look at the wild, we know that dolphins, whales and porpoises travel up to 100 miles daily feeding and socializing with other members of their pods. The pods can contain hundreds of individuals with complex social bonds and hierarchies. That is their natural state. In captivity they are in small enclosures and unable to swim in a straight line for any distance. They do not have the ability to dive deep. Sometimes they are housed alone or housed with other animals they are not naturally used to being with. When we look at that isolation with this concern in mind, we know this is the right thing to do.
I look forward to seeing support from all members in this House. We can do the right thing. Today is the day and I look forward to seeing a positive vote.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-06-10 11:12 [p.28780]
Mr. Speaker, as the chair of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, I am proud to speak in support of Bill S-203, an act to amend the Criminal Code and other acts, also known as the act for ending the captivity of whales and dolphins.
I also realize that I am speaking to the bill two days after World Oceans Day. Canada has the longest coastline in the world, and this past weekend, Canadians across the country raised awareness and celebrated our magnificent oceans. I took part in two community cleanups in Conception Bay, where I live.
While our oceans are vast and full of life, we also recognize the peril many of our ocean friends and marine ecosystems face due to threats from climate change and, of course, pollution. More than ever, we must work together to ensure that our oceans are clean and healthy for the many species that call them home, and to support our communities that depend on them.
Let us imagine whales and dolphins, which are used to having the ocean as their playground or feeding ground, being put in a cage not much bigger than a large outdoor swimming pool. Let us imagine the effect this would have on their ability to survive and flourish if they ever were released again. Let us imagine ourselves being put in a room which is 10 feet by 10 feet and being told that is where we have to live out the rest of our days. It certainly would have drastic effects on anyone, or on any animal, for that matter.
The bill has been strongly supported by my constituents of Avalon, and several members of the House have also supported the bill moving forward. I would like to thank the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, who has been strongly advocating for the bill to move forward in the House, and all the other members who have spoken on the necessity of the bill for the protection of our whales and dolphins.
As many members know, the bill comes to us from the Senate, first by retired senator Wilfred Moore, who originally brought the bill forward in 2016, and then sponsored by Senator Murray Sinclair. The work of these senators cannot go without mention. I would like to thank them for their leadership when it comes to the protection of our oceans and the species that call them home.
Whales and dolphins are part of our Canadian wildlife, and we are very lucky to have them live in our waters. In Newfoundland and Labrador, whales are a major tourist attraction. We see many visitors each year and if they are not coming to see the icebergs, they are coming to see the whales.
Canadians know how important it is to preserve our marine wildlife. That is why our government is not only supporting Bill S-203, but through Bill C-68, making amendments that also strengthen the bill.
Over the years, we have come to learn more and more about the nature of whales and dolphins and the conditions required for their livelihood. Research has told us that these animals undergo an immense amount of stress when taken into captivity, and this stress persists throughout their life. That is why Canadians and this government support the bill banning the captivity of whales and dolphins.
I want to thank the House leadership team, especially the member for Waterloo, for working so hard to get the bill through the House at this time. Again, I commend the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, Senator Moore and Senator Sinclair for their leadership on the bill and this issue, which is important to so many Canadians. I support the bill and look forward to its passage.
View Gord Johns Profile
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-10 11:26 [p.28782]
Mr. Speaker, it is a huge honour to speak today in the House of Commons. With this bill and with the support of my hon. colleagues, Canada is on the cusp of making history and ending cetacean captivity and making sure it is a thing of the past. Not only is this important to me, but it is important to the people of my riding, to people right across this country from coast to coast to coast, to countless environmental stewards who have fought hard on this issue, and certainly to the Nuu-chah-nulth people and indigenous people across this country.
I have heard from many of them. Many Nuu-chah-nulth people see the orca, in their language the kakaw’in, as a spirit animal and as an animal that is a reflection of their ancestors. To think of their ancestors being held in captivity is certainly something they do not want to see happen again.
If we pass this bill, it would do a couple of things. First, it would give us credibility and legitimacy to take it even further, to push for a global ban on having cetaceans held in captivity. We know that cetaceans held in captivity suffer in a way that is not justifiable. Bill S-203 is a reasonable, balanced piece of legislation.
Let us look at the life of a captive whale, dolphin or porpoise. In captivity, conditions are spartan and prison-like. Cetaceans suffer confinement, isolation, health problems, reduced lifespans, high infant mortality rates, sensory deprivation and trauma from transfer to other parks and calf separation. Given the evidence, captive facilities cannot provide for their social or biological needs. They need to roam widely and dive deep in order to thrive. The range of captive orcas is only 1/10,000th of 1% the size of their natural home range, and 80% of their time is spent at the surface, looking for food and attention from their trainers, who make the choices for them when they are held in captivity. Captive-born animals are often forcibly weaned and shipped to other facilities, away from their mothers and the only companions they have ever known. It creates unnecessary trauma. It is cruel.
Let us compare that to wild cetaceans. They spend approximately 80% to 90% of their time under the water. They have the freedom to make their own choices, sometimes travelling up to 100 miles per day, following food and the members of their family. Many of these species, like the orcas, live in complex societies with their own cultures and dialects, maintaining close ties with family and friends. Some remain in family groups for life. For wild orcas, their pod is critical to their survival.
I want to add that I am excited that we just had a baby orca in the pod off Tofino, witnessed by my good friends Jennifer Steven and John Forde. It is another reminder of the importance of our orcas being able to roam freely in the wild and knowing that a baby orca will not be taken and put into captivity. It is a relief to all of us.
We know that keeping cetaceans is cruel, given the scientific evidence about their nature and behaviour. They are intelligent, social and acoustically sensitive marine animals.
New Democrats believe in the power of research, and we know that the continued study of cetaceans can be done ethically in the wild. There, scientists can get a realistic view of their natural behaviours without causing a lifetime of pain and suffering.
Our party also understands the need for legislation to be measured, and Bill S-203 does balance a fair transition for the two remaining facilities that hold captive cetaceans. It grandfathers in existing animals and gives the zoo and aquarium community a long phase-out period. It is not asking these facilities to close overnight. Certainly we will not be supporting the movement of cetaceans or sale of cetaceans anywhere from those facilities.
There are a few people we need to thank today. First of all, we need to thank the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who brought their voice to all elected officials, whether in the House of Commons or in the Senate, calling for this legislation to be passed; the environmental groups and animal rights organizations for mobilizing people; and indigenous communities for raising their concerns, which led to the bill and today's debate.
Also, there are people in the House whom we need to thank, for coming together and showing this is not a partisan issue; it is a moral issue. First, I want to thank my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley. He had a very important piece of legislation to end zero-waste packaging, with which we hope the government will move forward. It made some announcements today in response to my motion, Motion No. 151, around phasing out single-use plastics. I would like to congratulate the government on that first step, and I look forward to seeing more momentum and movement, especially around industrial-use plastics, and rethinking how we use plastics.
I thank my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley because his bill was supposed to be in the House today, and he gave up his spot so we could move forward with this piece of legislation, knowing the only way we could save it was for it to be in the House today. I also want to thank Terrace's Ben Korving. He is the one who helped my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley bring the bill forward on zero-waste packaging through a contest held in his riding to ensure Canadians' voices were heard in the House. We have not lost sight of Ben's work. We have ensured the government heard the proposal that Ben brought forward. I want to thank them both.
In that same spirit, I want to thank my colleague and friend from Saanich—Gulf Islands for the considerable work she has done on this issue and the stewardship she has shown by taking on this bill, working with us to find a path forward and showing a non-partisan approach when it comes to ensuring we do the right thing for cetaceans, which do not have a voice. We are their voice and this is an opportunity to demonstrate what we are going to do to look out for them.
I want to thank my colleague and friend from Port Moody—Coquitlam, the former vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, who helped move this bill through committee and worked very hard on it. I also want to thank my friend and colleague, the chair of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, the member for Avalon, who has done some great work to help ensure the passage of this bill. I really mean that, because without his help, working with all of us in the House, we would not have got this done. I commend him for his work on that.
This bill would not have made it this far without the courageous and bold efforts of Senator Wilfred Moore. We sometimes raise concerns about the Senate, and I certainly have my doubts right now on a number of pieces of legislation, so I will take it away from the Senate and give it to a human being who is a huge champion, and that is retired senator Wilfred Moore. He has been a champion of this bill. He tabled this bill in the Senate and stayed on this bill even beyond his retirement, showing his dedication and commitment, and we owe him a round of applause. I thank him for being completely committed and devoted to seeing this through.
I thank Senator Murray Sinclair for taking on and championing this bill in the Senate, bringing the really important wealth of indigenous knowledge and his connections across this country and ensuring those voices were also heard in the Senate.
In closing, I hope this bill passes very quickly. I thank the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have been the voice of cetaceans, which do not have a voice, and look forward to Canada having legitimacy and credibility on the international stage when it comes to fighting for cetaceans and ending the captivity of whales internationally. I hope that is the next step for our country.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-06 10:19 [p.28661]
Mr. Speaker, the second petition is one that I am very happy to say is related to supporting my bill, Bill S-203, to ban the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity.
These petitioners are hoping the House will pass this bill before the end of June. Thanks to the kind auspices of the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley—and I also want to thank the member for Courtenay—Alberni and the hon. minister of fisheries—the good news is that this bill will come before us on Monday for the second hour of report stage. I am thankful for the opportunity to present this petition, and I hope we have good news soon.
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
2019-06-03 11:22 [p.28379]
Madam Speaker, my colleague answered most of my questions. As with other bills, sometimes I get a little concerned about the definition of what cruelty to animals may be. I am from an agricultural constituency. Other bills have taken certain ranch practices and have deemed some of that cruelty to animals.
As to the member's point about compliance with California and Europe, I have some concerns with anything using that as an argument. It may not be a very strong argument for me. Could she give more assurance on the definition of cruelty to animals? Is it by statute or is it going to creep, as she talked about?
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2019-06-03 11:23 [p.28379]
Madam Speaker, the bill confines everything to the testing on animals for cosmetic products. It does not do anything to the definition of what is cruelty or what is not cruelty. It is just talking about the use of animals specifically in testing. Therefore, I do not believe it would progress as the member is concerned about.
View Joël Godin Profile
View Joël Godin Profile
2019-06-03 11:40 [p.28382]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my NDP colleague for his comments. He drew the excellent conclusion that the Liberals lack the will to move forward. Sad to say, as my colleague from Sarnia—Lambton said, we will not be able to pass the bill by the end of the 42nd Parliament.
I want to thank my colleague from Sarnia—Lambton for the great work she did on this file. I wish to acknowledge her talents as a parliamentarian. She is conscientious and very open-minded. I commend her for it, and I hope the people of Sarnia—Lambton will bear it in mind on October 21.
I rise today in the House to speak to Bill S-214, an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act regarding cruelty-free cosmetics. I want to thank Conservative Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen for sponsoring this bill, which was introduced on December 10, 2015. I want to highlight the fact that it was introduced in 2015, because it bears out what I said in my preamble about the Liberals lacking the will to get this bill passed.
Ms. Stewart Olsen has 20 years of experience as a nurse, including more than 10 years as an emergency room nurse in hospitals all over New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec. She knows first-hand that things have changed and that progress has been made in all fields, which obviously includes science, technology and research. In a speech she gave in February 2016 at second reading of Bill S-214, she said:
Many of the tests on animals conducted today were developed in the 1940s, an era when our understanding of how chemicals interact with the human body was very basic. Science and technology have advanced considerably since those days, but in the 21st century, nearly 200,000 animals still suffer and die every year in the name of cosmetics and beauty products.
Every year, 200,000 animals die needlessly. That is a huge number.
Something that used to be useful, necessary and commendable for protecting human health when these tests were first conceived 70 years ago has no relevance anymore.
I read in an article in La Presse on April 15 that a 3D print of a heart with human tissue was unveiled in Israel.
Israeli researchers announced on Monday that they 3D printed the first vascularized heart using a patient's own cells, calling it a major breakthrough in treating cardiovascular disease and preventing heart transplant rejection.
Researchers at Tel-Aviv University showed the media the inert, rabbit-sized heart encased in liquid.
Although many obstacles remain, scientists hope one day to be able to print 3D hearts that could be transplanted with minimal risk of rejection in patients who will no longer have to rely on a possible organ transplant.
If we have come this far, then tests created in 1940 can certainly be replaced, thanks to scientific advances. Tests can be done on 3D models made from human tissue taken post-surgery, for example. There is therefore no need to conduct animal testing for the cosmetics industry and beauty products. I believe we are capable of testing products without needlessly affecting animals' lives.
We, the Conservatives, support the cruelty-free treatment of animals. In the interest of Canadians' health, medical research must continue, but we strongly recommend that scientists develop other means of testing. We cannot oppose scientific research and jeopardize Canadians lives. That is the bottom line. However, we can do better.
Steps have been taken to eliminate cosmetic animal testing in close to 40 countries, including the European Union, India, Israel, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand, South Korea and Guatemala, to name just a few.
Some countries have passed legislation prohibiting animal testing, while others have laws that ban the sale of products developed with animal testing. It is a societal choice. I believe that our bill affirms the position of Canadians.
In 2018, California was the first U.S. state to pass a law prohibiting the sale of animal-tested cosmetic products. The California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act was passed unanimously, 80 votes to none, by the California State Assembly on August 31, 2018. It comes into force in 2020. The assembly made decisions and worked to pass the bill, unlike the Liberals, who did nothing for three and a half years with a bill that was introduced in 2015.
All Canadian provinces and territories have laws, codes of conduct and standards regarding animal welfare. In her speech on February 3, 2016, Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen said:
Canada's legislative record on animal testing is more complicated than those of other countries. There's no clear statement on animal testing in Canada at the federal level other than permitting its use under the regulations attached to the Food and Drugs Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. However, part of the animal welfare aspect of the issue of animal testing is dealt with in the Criminal Code, and that is “causing unnecessary suffering to animals” and “causing damage or injury to animals by willful neglect,” which are offences under sections 445.1 and 446 of the Criminal Code.
We have all heard about animals being injected with chemicals, having substances put in their eyes—or worse—during testing. This is 2019, and we can do things differently. We must be responsible and protect these little creatures that unfortunately become victims of the cosmetics industry.
Clause 5 of the cruelty-free cosmetics act addresses concerns raised by the cosmetics industry. It would add section 18.2 to the Food and Drugs Act to give the Minister of Health the power to authorize animal testing “when there is no alternative method to evaluate substantiated specific human health problems associated with a cosmetic or ingredient of a cosmetic”. As I mentioned earlier, we will not jeopardize the lives of Canadians. The act seeks to protect animals and prevent them from being used to test cosmetics, which are not essential. Animals should not be killed for that reason. It is time the federal government showed some leadership in this regard.
I would like to assure the House that the Conservatives support research and scientific testing, as well as the humane treatment of animals. I therefore support Bill S-214, an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act with regard to cruelty-free cosmetics.
I would now like to talk about something very important. It is important to understand that this bill does not go against recreational hunting and fishing. That is completely different. It is important to let hunters and fishers, who care about the preservation and conservation of nature and environmental protection, practise their sport. What we are saying is that the cosmetic industry's scientific testing on defenceless animals is unacceptable. I am a fisherman and I am not concerned about this bill.
I encourage members on the other side of the House to be constructive and to consider the 10 amendments proposed so that this bill can be quickly passed.
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2019-05-14 19:39 [p.27805]
Mr. Chair, I will be providing 10 minutes of remarks followed by some questions for the minister.
I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak today. I will focus my remarks on Bill C-84, which was passed by the House of Commons on May 8, 2019. It proposes a number of important reforms to address bestiality and animal fighting. These reforms would offer greater protections to children, other vulnerable persons and animals.
With respect to bestiality, the bill responds to the 2016 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. D.L.W. in which the court found that, absent a statutory definition of bestiality, the common law meaning of the term is limited to penetrative sex acts with animals. The consequence of this is that a gap has been identified in the law: bestiality offences do not apply to non-penetrative sexual acts with animals. This leaves children and other vulnerable persons without adequate protections from all acts of bestiality. Child protection and animal protection advocates, and members of the public, have called for legislative action to address this gap.
Bill C-84 proposes to remedy this by adding a definition to the bestiality offences that would include “any contact, for a sexual purpose, with an animal.” As mentioned by other hon. members, this definition would not apply to legitimate animal husbandry activities, such as artificial insemination. In fact, agricultural stakeholders have expressed their views, both in writing to the former minister of justice and before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, that they have no concerns that the proposed definition would apply to current agricultural standards.
This proposed amendment received broad support from parliamentarians and witnesses who appeared before the justice committee. It pleases me to see members of all parties come together in support of a common desire to provide stronger protections for the most vulnerable members of society.
The committee also passed two motions related to enhancing Criminal Code protections for bestiality offences.
The first motion proposed to amend the Criminal Code to provide that a court may issue a prohibition or restitution order for a person convicted of a bestiality offence. In the case of a prohibition order, the court would have the authority to issue an order prohibiting the person from possessing, having control over or residing with an animal for any period, up to a lifetime ban. A restitution order would be available to order the person to repay the costs to an individual or organization of maintaining the abused animal. These types of orders are already available for the animal cruelty offences, and it makes sense that they should also be available for the bestiality offences.
The second motion passed by the committee would add the bestiality simpliciter offence to the list of offences for which a convicted person must adhere to the requirements of the National Sex Offender Registry. I believe that this is a meaningful amendment to the bill, as it would increase protections for public safety by recognizing that oftentimes, those who abuse animals will also commit violent acts against people, and as such, these individuals should be tracked.
Other hon. members supporting the bill mentioned that they thought the reforms did not go far enough to increase protections for animals. However, I believe the bill does offer important changes that target the most vicious forms of animal abuse, bestiality and animal fighting.
The amendments in the bill would address animal fighting in two ways. First, the amendments would increase the list of prohibited activities that support the animal fighting industry, including promoting, arranging or receiving money for animal fighting. This would make it easier to prosecute an animal fighting offence by clearly setting out the prohibited acts, thereby encouraging more prosecutions under the Criminal Code. The second amendment would expand the prohibition against keeping a cockpit to ensure that the provision applied to keeping an arena for the fighting of any animal. This amendment is particularly important considering that dogfighting is now the main form of animal fighting.
When the bill was being reviewed by the committee, it heard detailed evidence from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association about the types of injuries that dogs suffered, including deep lacerations, broken bones and infections when forced to fight another dog. Law enforcement has reported that dog fighting, as with many illicit underground operations, is often connected to organized crime.
I am pleased that Bill C-84 will offer additional measures to combat animal fighting and make it easier for the criminal justice system to track these offenders.
The committee also passed a third motion, which the government supports, to delete the section in the offence of keeping a cockpit that required the destruction of birds found in a cockpit. This provision exists because such birds are often injured or trained to be aggressive and are unable to be held with other birds.
I agree with the position that the decision to destroy an animal should be made on a case-by-case basis after the animal has been examined rather than by operation of law. The destruction of animals that are seriously injured or aggressive, with no reasonable chance of recovery or rehabilitation, is already provided for under provincial animal protection legislation and does not need to be included in the Criminal Code. Moreover, it would be inconsistent with the objective of the amendment to the provision, which is to expand the prohibition on cockpits to apply to any animal and then to retain a provision that only applies to birds involved in cockfighting.
The measures proposed by Bill C-84 will strengthen public safety and protections for animals significantly. There has been much discussion about the correlation between violence against animals and violence against humans. In fact, in the United States the FBI has a national database that contains data on incidents of animal abuse in order to prevent violence against animals from escalating to violence against humans, including domestic abuse and serial murders. As well, many victims of domestic violence report that their abusers either abuse or threaten to harm pets in order to assert even more control over the victim. If a child witnesses animal abuse, that itself is a form of child abuse.
I would like to thank the members of the committee and the witnesses who appeared before us for their helpful testimony and important examination of the bill. As a result, three meaningful motions were passed by the committee and then supported in the House. The discussions that have taken place and the suggested amendments have produced a bill that has been strengthened through consensus and collaboration.
It is important that the bill be enacted as soon as possible, given the importance of these proposed amendments.
I have questions for the minister. I have heard from my constituents that they are pleased that our government is taking important steps with Bill C-84. Some even pointed out to me that these reforms did not go far enough. Has the minister encountered this sentiment from Canadians or stakeholders?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
View David Lametti Profile
2019-05-14 19:48 [p.27806]
Mr. Chair, I thank the hon. member for his work in committee, and indeed all committee members, on this bill.
The hon. member is absolutely right when he says that we have a better bill now in front of the other place because of the work the committee did.
We took two pieces that were generally agreed upon, so it was a targeted response on two specific issues. The bill therefore is a meaningful step forward.
It is clear that we need to go further for the protection of animals. I have said publicly that I will undertake to do this. I did it with my parliamentary secretary at a round table with stakeholders in his riding of Parkdale—High Park. We feel this dialogue and discussion, now opened, will lead us to a better place with respect to protection of animals.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2019-05-10 13:44 [p.27649]
Madam Speaker, I rise today to join this important debate on Bill S-203, an act to amend the Criminal Code and other acts with regard to ending the captivity of whales and dolphins.
Both I and my constituents in Parkdale—High Park have anticipated this piece of legislation for some time since it moved from the Senate to this House. Now that it has returned from the fisheries and oceans committee without amendment, I am pleased to stand and speak in favour of this bill. It is important to highlight the important work that was done by a unanimous fisheries and oceans committee to get it back before this House expeditiously.
Before I speak to the substantive elements of the bill, I want to add my voice to the voice of the leader of the Green Party and thank the Senate sponsors for this bill, the now retired Senator Wilfred Moore and Senator Murray Sinclair, who carried the bill forward after Senator Moore's retirement. I want to thank as well the House of Commons sponsor, the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, who commenced this debate today. All of these individuals have been tireless advocates for this legislation, and their activism and advocacy has helped carry Bill S-203 to this point we are at this afternoon.
The bill itself seeks to prohibit the taking of a cetacean into captivity and will amend the Criminal Code to create offences respecting cetaceans in captivity. It will also amend other acts to require a permit for the import of a cetacean into Canada and the export of one from Canada.
I want to begin by tracking our government's progress on the commitment to promote animal welfare rights in Canada and abroad. This is an important issue to me and the constituents of my riding of Parkdale—High Park, as I frequently hear from them about the work we must all do collectively to ensure the welfare of animals. Since 2015, we have made progress on this commitment.
In my role as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, one of the pieces of legislation I have had the privilege of working on is Bill C-84, an act to amend the Criminal Code in relation to bestiality and animal fighting. That bill will make important amendments to our Criminal Code to change the definition of bestiality and expand the animal fighting provisions to capture more of this conduct and ensure offenders are brought to justice.
This week is indeed a momentous week in this chamber, because it was only this week that Bill C-84 received third reading and was then sent to the Senate. I, along with many others, look forward to its study and its eventual passage there. In the same week that we dealt with Bill C-84 in this chamber, we are dealing today with Bill S-203. It has been an important week for animal rights in this country.
With the help of stakeholders such as farmers, industry groups, provinces and territories, and veterinarians, our government has also been active on ensuring proper and humane animal transport. Federally, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the CFIA, administers the enforcement of regulations related to animal transport, and plans are under way to modernize the regulations and humane transport provisions of the health of animals regulations. These have not been updated since the 1970s. The need to reduce animal suffering during transportation is clear.
In 2017, we also announced an investment of $1.31 million to an entity known as the Canadian Animal Health Coalition, the CAHC, to help ensure the safe transportation of livestock, develop emergency management tools for the livestock industry and improve animal care assessments.
We have also been engaged with stakeholders on the topic of animal welfare during the slaughter process. The stakeholders in my riding of Parkdale—High Park have spoken to me repeatedly about the need to ensure that animals are handled humanely at all points of their lives and that the high standards we expect regarding animal treatment are upheld. I absolutely agree with their sentiment that this kind of protection must be a priority, which is why I currently serve as a member of the Liberal animal welfare caucus.
Let us get back to the bill before us, Bill S-203.
Scientists agree that whales, dolphins and other extraordinary marine mammals like them should not be kept in captivity or bred in captivity, and that doing so amounts to cruelty.
Additionally, it is well documented that the live capture of cetaceans and their transport to a foreign habitat harms the natural habitat where the cetaceans originate. At a time when oceans are under increased threat from a number sources, such as habitat destruction, coastal pollution, overfishing and global warming, which all harm these cetaceans, we can scarcely afford to be keeping them in captivity.
We must also think about the difficult living conditions for cetaceans that live in a confined space, such as an aquarium, without the social contact and normal activities most cetaceans in the wild would enjoy. Those that live in captivity suffer from a higher rate of physical health issues and a lower life expectancy.
As well, calves generally suffer from a much higher mortality rate and a lack of emotional connection to others of their species as a result of the limited space when they are in captivity.
Therefore, where we may have seen whales, dolphins and other cetaceans in an aquarium as a form of entertainment in bygone years, in many cases we now realize that it actually amounts to animal cruelty. Thus, our government firmly agrees that the capture of cetaceans for the sole purpose of being kept for public display should be ended.
Importantly, while the banning of whale captivity is not yet in law, the practice has been in place for some years now, which is a good sign. Bill C-68, which was mentioned earlier in today's debate in one of the questions by a member opposite, was introduced by our government. It is currently in the Senate and passed in the House in June of last year. It includes amendments to end the captivity of whales unless for rehabilitation. This legislation now before us is the next step, the next important step, in ensuring the safety and security of these intelligent and complex creatures.
Presently, as was mentioned by the Leader of the Green Party, there are two aquaria in Canada that are holding cetaceans: the Vancouver Aquarium, in British Columbia, and Marineland, in Ontario. The Vancouver Aquarium, which is a not-for-profit institution, currently has a Pacific white-sided dolphin, which was rescued from the wild and deemed not releasable, as well as five belugas on loan to aquaria in the United States. The Vancouver Park Board has not permitted the aquarium to hold cetaceans captured from the wild for display purposes since 1996, but it does work with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to respond to cetaceans in the wild requiring rescue and rehabilitation. Marineland holds the remaining balance of cetaceans, including one orca.
The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans retains the authority to issue a licence for the capture of live cetaceans. However, only one such licence has been issued over the past decade, and that was for the rescue and rehabilitation of a stranded Pseudorca calf. No licence has been issued for the purpose of displaying a cetacean publicly in over 20 years. As stated earlier, it has been the practice of successive Canadian governments that cetaceans not be captured or placed in captivity unless for rehabilitation.
It is also important to note the elements of Bill S-203 that relate to the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, some of which feature whales and dolphins as a key component of their culture and traditions. These provisions were not initially part of the bill, but through the significant consultation process that took place while Bill S-203 was being studied in the Senate, the bill was sufficiently and appropriately altered.
It is essential to consider and address the needs of indigenous peoples. This is something I have heard frequently from the knowledgeable, engaged constituents of my riding of Parkdale—High Park and literally from people right around the country. They have always echoed to me that we in this place, as legislators, must apply an indigenous lens to all the legislation, government or otherwise, that comes before us. I am pleased to see that this is in fact exactly what was done in the Senate when it engaged in those consultations.
This legislation complements our government's work, which I have outlined. We are committed to the recovery and protection of marine mammals. This commitment is evident through another investment we have made, which is a $1.5-billion investment in what is an historic oceans protection plan that would help restore our marine ecosystems, in partnership with our indigenous partners.
As well, there has been a five-year $167-million investment in the whales initiative, which would take concrete steps to help endangered whales and reduce the impact of human-caused threats. Our latest announcement was $61 million for measures in support of the southern resident killer whale population off the coast of British Columbia.
Bill S-203 is one aspect of the support our government is giving to marine animals and their habitat. Bill S-203 is also supported by some significant leaders in the field of marine science and animal welfare, including Humane Canada and Animal Justice. Even the former head trainer at Marineland, Mr. Philip Demers, has expressed support for the measures in this bill.
What I think we are seeing here with Bill S-203 is the proper and necessary evolution of rights protections for animals in this country. It is a bill whose time has come. It is a bill I am very proud to support on behalf of my constituents and as a member of the government. I urge all members to do the same.
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
2019-05-10 14:04 [p.27652]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this bill on behalf of the people of Sherbrooke. I know that the majority of them will support this Senate bill, which is now at third reading.
I want to keep this brief so the bill can move on to the next stages and go for royal assent, which will hopefully come soon.
On behalf of the New Democratic Party, I am pleased to say that I support this bill, which is simply designed to end a practice that has been recognized as cruel, namely keeping cetaceans in captivity.
I do not think anyone in the House would challenge the validity of the scientific evidence showing that cetaceans are highly intelligent creatures that deserve to be treated well so that they too can live a happy life. No one would argue with that. The science on this point is very clear.
This bill is simply aimed at preventing the taking of cetaceans into captivity, except for certain worthy motives, such as rescue, rehabilitation and certain kinds of monitoring that must be done in a respectful manner and, ideally, in their natural state for scientific research purposes.
I think this is a reasonable, well-balanced, common-sense bill that the people of Sherbrooke are sure to support.
We need to rely on scientific data and evidence, which show that cetaceans have a reduced lifespan when they live in captivity. The infant mortality rate is higher, and the facilities that keep them in captivity cannot meet their social and biological needs. They need a lot of space to live. That is a recognized fact and the fundamental reason why this is a good, common-sense bill.
Regardless of the size of the facility, there is no way it can be big enough to meet all of the social and biological needs of cetaceans. They get bored in captivity. They cannot swim as they would in their natural habitat. They cannot swim in a straight line, swim long distances or swim in deep water. When they are in captivity, they spend about 80% of their time at the surface of the water, which is completely unnatural for them. In their natural habitat, they spend 90% of their time underwater.
In captivity, they are fed because they obviously cannot use their sophisticated hunting methods to obtain food. There is simply nothing for them to hunt in their confined spaces. Their diet in captivity is not as varied or nutritious as what they could find in the wild.
They suffer from loneliness, separated from their pods. They generally end up alone. Sometimes they are even separated from their mother and sent elsewhere to be kept in captivity and put on display for the public.
They also suffer from the absence of sounds that they would normally hear in their natural environment. These sounds do not exist in captivity. Sometimes their tanks and interactions with the public cause considerable ambient noise, producing sounds they would not hear in nature.
All these things cause cetaceans to suffer when they are in captivity. This has been proven, and it is extremely cruel to continue this practice.
This is why Canada must take a leadership role. A few weeks or months ago, the public became aware of this issue when they saw several dozen cetaceans being held in captivity in Russia in very small pens and in water much colder than they are used to. They cannot swim to stretch their muscles. Everyone was horrified by these images. Everyone in Canada, Quebec and Sherbrooke expects Canada to set an example and to not stand for this in our country.
The bill is sensible, reasonable and balanced. A vast majority of people in Sherbrooke agree that this practice must be stopped. Canada must step up on the world stage to put an end to this practice around the world and to make sure that we are not complicit in such cruel practices.
I want to congratulate the senator who introduced this bill as well as the bill's sponsor in the House and all those who contributed to the debate to move this bill forward, so that it will receive royal assent as quickly as possible. I will stop here. I want to make sure that this bill moves forward and will receive royal assent as quickly as possible.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-05-10 14:21 [p.27654]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to join the debate on Bill S-203, for which I have received a fair volume of correspondence from constituents in my riding of Calgary Shepard, whom I am pleased to represent. A lot of them were sent to me on behalf of various organizations across Canada that have been promoting Bill S-203 as a solution to cetaceans in captivity.
Before I continue on with the bill, I want to make one mention. The member for St. John's East had the best observation regarding a Senate bill I have ever heard in this chamber when he said it did not take advantage of creative acronym design. It has been four years and I will give him that. How acronyms are created with certain bill is probably one observation I have not made, so I will give him kudos for that one, but not for the content of what he said, especially on the oceans protection plan, which is a $1.5-billion plan, with very little spending so far. The Coast Guard ships that have been built are still in dock in Nanaimo with no crews to service them and make them ready for use in the field. I have not seen any actual spending of the dollars associated with the plan. That is the first part of my reply to what he mentioned.
With respect to the substance of the bill, I feel the need to provide an introduction. I have been writing back to my constituents who have been writing to me on Bill S-203, and I have had some back-and-forth conversations with a few of them on disagreements over some of the technical aspects of the bill.
One thing I want to mention is that the bill broaches a certain area of provincial jurisdiction—animal welfare laws, typically—by going after the Criminal Code. It is a way for Parliament to make a judgment call about a certain practice in Canadian society. In this case, it is the captivity of cetaceans.
I share the same concern that a lot of my constituents have and that a lot of members of Parliament in this chamber have expressed over the necessary protection of whales, dolphins and other aquatic animals, which is that nobody wants to see them suffer. The member for Sherbrooke brought up an example of what happens in the Russian Federation. Of course, there are examples all over the world of abhorrent animal husbandry and captivity practices that most of us would say are brutal and should not be happening. Unfortunately, they do, because people use animals for entertainment purposes and to generate an income.
With respect to some of the historical aspects, as I think another member mentioned, there have been no live captures since 1992, although it is true that beluga whales and bottlenose dolphins have been imported from foreign sources.
It has been reported in various CBC articles and other media that parts of this bill seem to be veering into areas of provincial jurisdiction over animal welfare laws. Ontario has already banned the captivity and breeding in captivity of orcas, which is one of the concerns I had with the bill going the route of amending the Criminal Code. Perhaps it is more of a process issue that I have.
Going back to the previous debate we had earlier today on Bill C-55, with respect to the intent of a bill like this one, Bill S-203, I do not think many members disagree with the principle of the matter; rather, it is the execution we have concerns with.
There are a few scientists I am going to quote, some of whom provided testimony at committees and some who of whom provided feedback through correspondence that the member for Cariboo—Prince George and I have received.
I want to mention that this is a very unusual bill, because it has received review at over 17 committee meetings in an eight-month period. It was tabled way back in 2015 and has been on the public record for quite a long time. It has been debated for quite a long time. It had what I would say was a difficult process through that other place, the Senate chamber, with several senators expressing deep concern over the technical aspects of the bill in its interaction between provincial laws and federal jurisdiction over the Criminal Code. That area is where I am going to express some of my concerns as well.
The provinces are responsible for passing animal welfare laws. In this chamber we have pronounced ourselves on matters affecting what I would also think are areas of at least partial provincial jurisdiction, as in the bestiality bill the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice mentioned earlier. I do not think there is anything wrong in going the route of the Criminal Code, but in this case in particular the member for North Okanagan—Shuswap mentioned that it could potentially criminalize individuals that the law did not intend to criminalize, such as the booking of travel vacations or some service provision in tourism.
I do not think that was the intent of the law. However, I have seen before, as I mentioned in the House on Bill C-55, that with regulations passed by officials, written by officials and confirmed through the gazetting process that the Government of Canada has, the intention is typically lost. Nice words are shared by officials about the intent of the bill when the members of Parliament and senators express their will by passing a piece of legislation, but then the actual execution is not there.
Sometimes this debate among officials lasts well over a decade, two or three decades of quibbling over exactly what the law permits one to do and to whom it can apply. I think the concerns expressed by the member for North Okanagan—Shuswap on our side are that the lens with which the Criminal Code will be applied may be broadened by officials in the departments at a later point, far beyond the lifespan of any member here, or at least our elected lifespan. I wish all members good heath.
I think there is a concern there about that mission creep, about going after individuals or applying the law to individuals whom we had not intended it to be upon. That is why many amendments were moved at committee by the opposition side to try to improve and clarify this particular piece of legislation, of course not to obstruct it. Attempting to amend a piece of legislation is never about obstruction. It is about an improvement to the bill, especially when the intent is there. The technical aspect, the delivery of the bill and its execution, is perhaps lacking.
I want to mention the scientists. The member for Cariboo—Prince George previously made comments about an email from Dr. Laura Graham, a professor at the University of Guelph. I am going to read the quote, and then perhaps I can express some of my thoughts on the scientists' view on the impact that this bill would have.
The member for Cariboo—Prince George said:
Her speciality is endocrinology and reproductive physiology of wildlife species, including looking at factors that can impact the welfare of wildlife species managed by humans and using science to solve some of the challenges wildlife managers face as they work toward optimizing the welfare of animals in their care.
Thereafter, that information can be used in the general practices of the Crown when it is managing wildlife populations on behalf of Canadians. I am going to read a direct quote from the correspondence that the member for Cariboo—Prince George read, so that I can remind the chamber of what Dr. Laura Graham said:
As an expert in endangered species physiology I can tell you that this bill is short-sighted and will do irreparable harm to critical research on the marine mammals listed under SARA, including the Salish Orca. Over 90% of what we know about marine mammal biology is based on research on individuals under human care. And we need these captive animals to develop research techniques that can be applied to free-ranging animals.
The discussion goes on from there. The quotations given by this particular specialist, I think, are really important to keep in mind.
Many members have said that the economic operations of the aquariums, and those operations that save marine mammals and then perhaps keep them temporarily in captivity so that they can nurse them back to health, typically have some research component. It is never a purely economic operation.
Again, I could be wrong in the case of Marineland, which seems to be the best example being used. I am a member from Calgary, after all, so I do not head out to Toronto too often. However, on this particular piece of legislation, I think the intent is there but the execution is lacking. As I read from the scientist, I think there will be harm done on the research side of things that we were not able to fix at committee. In eight months and 17 committee meetings, we were not able to reach that mechanical fixing of the bill.
That is why I will be voting against this piece of legislation, just as I have been telling my constituents that I would. I implore all members to look at that fact and to vote against this particular law.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-08 16:05 [p.27526]
That, in relation to Bill C-84, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (bestiality and animal fighting), not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the Bill; and
That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
View Michelle Rempel Profile
View Michelle Rempel Profile
2019-05-08 16:06 [p.27526]
Mr. Speaker, frankly, this is a bill that the government should have dealt with on the front end of this Parliament. There has been a lot of bipartisan support for this bill. I am just really disappointed that the government had to invoke time allocation, when I think there has been discussion among all parties with a view to having this bill pass expeditiously.
The government is going to allow a speaker, and other opposition parties were not going to have a speaker, and I do not understand why we are doing this. The government could have just put no speakers up. This is one of those situations where I know we have stakeholders in Ottawa who are watching this.
The government could have just managed this situation so much better. If one is going to build trust in this place, putting forward time allocation for something like this just seems a little heavy-handed and ridiculous. Why did the government have to quash bipartisan support for a bill that was probably just going to go on a voice vote anyway today?
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