I'm back in the saddle..
I took a little better than a week's break. I was tired right out and didn't get blogging.
February 23rd was an amazing day in the fight to repeal the breed ban in Ontario.
Photography by Beth Mischitelle
We started the day with a Rally on the front lawn of Queen's Park. We had an amazing turn out! Some people who work at the legislature said we had a HUGE turn out for a week day!
Photography by Beth Mischitelle
Selma did a great job emceeing the Rally and Fran and gang did a great job organizing and promoting it. There were great speakers including all three MPP's that signed on to the Bill, PC MPP Randy Hillier,
PC MPP Randy Hillier
NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo and Liberal MPP Kim Craitor.
Liberal MPP Kim Craitor
Our Cathy Prothro spoke on behalf of the DLCC and American Staffordshire Terrier Club of Canada.
DLCC sec/treasurer, Pres. AST Club of Canada
She flew in for the occasion from Dartmouth NS. Squibs Mercier from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Canada flew in from Ottawa. Squibs is well into her 80's but she is a force to be reckoned with.
Squibs Mercier SBT Club of Canada
Sonny Allinson spoke on behalf of the CKC,
Sonny Allinson, Manager Communications Division CKC
many other MPP's who came out to greet us said a few words.. among others. I can't even list everyone who spoke. The tone was upbeat and positive. Randy Hillier bought yellow scarves for everyone to wear in support of Bill 16. Dogs and owners alike were wearing the scarves with pride.
At 1 pm we headed into the Legislature building to sit in the gallery. Petitions were read first. Several were presented including one Randy presented with over 4000 names.
Several other Bills were debated and presented with Bill 16 debate being last for a Thursday afternoon. The House was closed on Friday so it appeared there were a lot of MPP's had left for the weekend.
Bill 16 was read for second reading, then there was a heated debate.
Here is a link to the Hansard for the debate.
Liberal MPP Willowdale David Zimmer's "speech" was particularly rousing. I am going to share that with you so you may read through it yourself.
Make sure you remove any "bullshit protectors" from your eyes before reading this, otherwise you will not be able to view the following text.
Yes, that's right! Genitalia! You are damn right there was laughter. I must say, even for Zimmer this was a bang your head off the furniture, bang up speech.
Mr. David Zimmer: I think it’s important to look at some of the history leading up to this legislation.
Pre-2005—in the years leading up to 2005—members of this chamber will recall that there was a particularly nasty spate of pit bull attacks on children, on citizens walking in the park and on citizens walking in the street. These were vicious, vicious attacks: children killed, faces ripped off and the like. The member opposite talks about dog bites. In fact, they were vicious, life-threatening attacks.
There was a public outcry to do something about pit bulls. The legislation was brought in. It received second reading here, and it went off to committee.
The member opposite said there were a number of institutions that appeared at the committee hearings, which she attended, and they were opposed to the legislation. I, as the parliamentary assistant to the Attorney General, attended every one of those hearings. There were huge numbers of ordinary citizens coming in off the street in the various communities where the committee had hearings, and to a person, the ordinary, reasonable Ontario citizen said, “Protect us from these vicious pit bull attacks. Protect our children; protect our parents. Make the streets safe; make the parks safe.” So we introduced the legislation.
I can say that at the committee we saw medical reports of the results of these attacks. We saw the photographs of what happened to children and senior citizens and young adults who were attacked—horrific, horrific injuries.
Anyway, the legislation passed. And here’s how reasonable the legislation is: Really, what it says is, if you’ve got a pit bull, you’ve got to have it spayed, neutered, leashed and muzzled. That’s all; that’s what it says. In return for that, look at the protections that Ontario citizens on the street get. If somebody will merely spay, neuter, leash and muzzle their pit bull, we would be spared from these vicious, vicious life-threatening attacks. That’s why, across the board in Ontario, reasonable Ontarians said, “That’s a reasonable price to pay in exchange for protection from these kinds of attacks.” All we’re asking pit bull owners to do is to meet us a part of the way. If you’ve got a pit bull, spay it, neuter it, keep it on a leash and keep it muzzled. That’s a reasonable approach to this issue. For those four things—spay, neuter, leash, muzzle—we protect our families from these vicious pit bull attacks.
That’s why, when push came to shove, the average Ontarian out there on the street saw the reasonableness of the legislation, saw the inherent protections and realized that when the pit bull lobby was attacking the legislation—and the member opposite from Parkdale very subtly, in kind of a sly, sleight-of-hand way, referred to dog bites. There’s a big difference between a dog bite and having, as we saw in photographs—we read medical reports of children with their faces torn off; adults, men and women, with their genitalia chewed off. It was vicious—
Mr. David Zimmer:
You laugh; you laugh. But if you go to the reports, the exhibits of the standing committee—
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bas Balkissoon):
Order. Order. I would ask the members on this side to keep order, please.
Mr. David Zimmer:
That’s why, notwithstanding everything the pit bull lobby says, the average Ontarian in your ridings, in your communities, supported the legislation, and that’s why, when the pit bull lobby took the legislation to the courts to have it overturned—what did the courts say? The courts said that it was reasonable legislation for the harm that it protected from. It only asked for those four simple things: leash, muzzle, spay, neuter.
It’s a reasonable piece of legislation given the protections that it provides to the citizens of Ontario, and that’s why the ordinary, average citizen supported the legislation.
The debates finished and the speaker announced the "aye's" had it. Hillier had called for a formal vote so a 5 minute bell was announced. This is a period of 5 minutes that any MPP's in the building had to get their butts in for a formal vote. It was a tense few minutes but what happened next brought all of us in the gallery to tears. The MPP's for the opposition poured in. There were only 2 empty seats. I didn't notice any additional Liberal MPP's coming in. The vote was called and ALL the opposition voted in favour of Bill 16 along with 3 Liberal MPP's. Kim Craitor, Grant Crack and Mike Colle.
The final vote tally;
- Armstrong, Teresa J.
- Arnott, Ted
- Bailey, Robert
- Barrett, Toby
- Bisson, Gilles
- Campbell, Sarah
- Chudleigh, Ted
- Clark, Steve
- Colle, Mike
- Crack, Grant
- Craitor, Kim
- DiNovo, Cheri
- Dunlop, Garfield
- Elliott, Christine
- Fedeli, Victor
- Forster, Cindy
- Hardeman, Ernie
- Harris, Michael
- Hillier, Randy
- Horwath, Andrea
- Hudak, Tim
- Jackson, Rod
- Jones, Sylvia
- Klees, Frank
- Leone, Rob
- MacLaren, Jack
- Mantha, Michael
- Marchese, Rosario
- McDonell, Jim
- McKenna, Jane
- McNaughton, Monte
- Miller, Paul
- Milligan, Rob E.
- Munro, Julia
- Natyshak, Taras
- Nicholls, Rick
- O’Toole, John
- Ouellette, Jerry J.
- Prue, Michael
- Schein, Jonah
- Scott, Laurie
- Shurman, Peter
- Singh, Jagmeet
- Smith, Todd
- Tabuns, Peter
- Taylor, Monique
- Thompson, Lisa M.
- Vanthof, John
- Walker, Bill
- Wilson, Jim
- Yurek, Jeff
- Berardinetti, Lorenzo
- Bradley, James J.
- Coteau, Michael
- Damerla, Dipika
- Delaney, Bob
- Dhillon, Vic
- Dickson, Joe
- Duguid, Brad
- Flynn, Kevin Daniel
- Jaczek, Helena
- Jeffrey, Linda
- Kwinter, Monte
- Leal, Jeff
- MacCharles, Tracy
- Mangat, Amrit
- McMeekin, Ted
- Moridi, Reza
- Murray, Glen R.
- Naqvi, Yasir
- Piruzza, Teresa
- Qaadri, Shafiq
- Sergio, Mario
- Sousa, Charles
- Wong, Soo
- Wynne, Kathleen O.
- Zimmer, David
51 to 26 in favour of Bill 16 (insert happy dance)
The gallery erupted into applause and tears! It was a great GREAT moment! It felt like the candle of hope that this nightmare will end in Ontario, just turned into a bush fire.
The day ended and we left feeling as though we were walking on a cloud.
The next step is the Bill (16) will be sent to committee hearing. This is a process where citizens from across Ontario have the opportunity to comment on, or provide evidence relating to the matter under review.
Anyone who wants to apply to present an oral presentation may do so. Oral presentations are in Hansard but written presentations are not. Anyone may also send in a written presentation.
The information will be made available likely within the next month or so. Based on the applications, which will have a time limit put on by when one must apply, dates will follow.
McGuinty does have the power to veto a private members Bill from returning to 3rd reading.
We are hopeful that Dalton McGuinty has come to his senses and will allow 3rd reading following committee hearings.
Stay tuned everyone. Hopefully we are on the road to having the breed specific language repealed from the Dog Owners Liability Act in Ontario so that we as dog owners may be treated FAIRLY AND EQUALLY UNDER THE LAW!