Update 6-20-18: Senator Plett’s sub-amendment to exempt Marineland from Bill S-203 was defeated 51-32-4. However, the vote on this bill may not occur until the fall. Please continue to contact Canada’s senators and ask them to support Bill S-203 and bring it to a vote.
For 29 long months, Canada’s Bill S-203 – Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act – has remained afloat in the senate. It’s been the subject of extensive debate, and as of the June 19 chamber sitting, a vote was deferred yet again, stalling legislation that would effectively end cetacean captivity across the country.
“This enactment amends the Criminal Code to create offences respecting cetaceans in captivity. It also amends the Fisheries Act to prohibit the taking of a cetacean into captivity and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act to prohibit the import of a cetacean into Canada and the export of a cetacean from Canada.” ~ Source: openparliament.ca
Between February and October 2017 alone, the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans held 17 meetings while studying the bill, and heard from more than 40 witnesses in the process. “I don’t think I need to go into much more detail about how much time has elapsed on this bill, and the fact that we have dragged it out perhaps unconscionably,” Senator Woo, 6/19/18
Only two facilities remain in Canada that keep dolphins captive: Vancouver Aquarium and Marineland, Niagara Falls, with the former voluntarily banning cetacean captivity. The country’s only captive orca, Kiska, remains in solitary confinement at the Niagara Falls park. Despite the Ontario government prohibiting the acquisition and breeding of orcas in the province in 2015, Kiska is exempt from this ruling.
The Senate of Canada is scheduled to break in July. If a vote does not take place, Bill S-203 will be deferred until the fall. Canada’s politicians need to honor its democratic process and vote NOW on this bill.
“My organization, Ontario Captive Animal Watch spoke in the Senate in May 2017 in support of Bill S-203. We also accompanied Dr. Ingrid Visser, who traveled from New Zealand on two separate occasions, when she spoke in the Senate in support of the Bill. It is reprehensible that the Conservative party, led by Senator Don Plett, has tried to quietly kill the bill on more than one occasion and is still using delay tactics to stall it. We have received a plethora of emails and phone calls from concerned Canadians asking why the final vote has not taken place. This bill deserves to be voted on by the Senate and move forward to the House of Commons forthwith.” ~ Diane Fraleigh, Ontario Captive Animal Watch
Thanks to Diane Fraleigh for her assistance with this blog.
How You Can Help
Contact Canada’s senators and ask that they vote on Bill S-203 before the summer break.
Below is a list of Conservative Senators, beginning with Senator Plett. Please contact him first since he is the individual using unsavory stalling tactics. At the top of the list is Senator Woo. As he gave an interview to iPolitics, stating Canadians would be appalled if they knew about the stalling tactics used in the Senate on Bill S-203, we urge you to contact him and ask that he force a vote on this bill.