On Monday, May 9, Member of Parliament Nathaniel Erskine-Smith's private member's bill to modernize animal protection legislation, Bill C-246, had second reading in the House of Commons. The debate contained some surprises. Not surprising were the Members of Parliament who, despite what MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith said about the purpose of the bill in his eloquent and passionate opening speech, continued to suggest that the Bill would criminalize hunting, fishing, and other legal "animal use" practices. This is simply not true, but we were expecting that approach from some MPs. The Green Party leader, Elizabeth May, and some other MPs from the other parties were very supportive of the Bill. The big surprise came when the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice (MP Bill Blair) said he could not support the bill and added that he wants to see animal cruelty legislation reviewed as part of a larger overall review of the entire Criminal Code. How long will THAT take? Why not pass Bill C-246 now and review the rest of the Criminal Code later? According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, surveys indicate that 92% of Canadians already want animal cruelty legislation that closes loopholes preventing people who abuse animals from being charged and convicted.
Bill C-246 will be put to a vote in the House of Commons after the second half of debate either on September 20 or at the end of June (if this sitting of Parliament is extended). Yesterday, to draw attention to the bill, we tweeted to Members of Parliament and Ministers asking that they support Bill C-246 when it comes up for a vote. Despite several technical glitches, thanks to teamwork we still managed to pull off the Tweetstorm in fine fashion. A fantastic job was done by all!! #BillC246 trended at number 6 in Canada, and trended for several hours, with over 2,000 tweets being sent. Thank you sincerely to everyone who participated! Round 2 of the Tweetstorm is coming up in the near future, so please watch our "Take Action" page for updates. For now, as per direction from MP Erskine-Smith, we will assume that the bill will be voted upon at the end of June and basing our action on that date.
Please read how you can help NOW byclicking here, and then take action.Thank you for your continued support for the animals, who need us all if legislation in this country will be brought into the 21st century.