Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Open Letter To The Premier About The OSPCA Situation

Mr. Premier,

I am writing today as I, and thousands of Ontarians, have simply had enough of the current management and operations at the OSPCA. Since May of this year, when the organization announced its decision to mass euthanize over 100 animals in its care (a decision that disgustingly, the OSPCA hid from the public, and one that would likely not have been publicized had it not been for the caring volunteers who came forward), the OSPCA has continued to dodge the public's request of information and continues to show a lack of transparency. As of the beginning of September, MPPs from over 100 ridings have received THOUSANDS of petitions calling for provincial oversight of the OSPCA. As of this time, several MPPs have read the petitions before the legislature, and several continue to do so. Unfortunately, as of now, NOT ONE LIBERAL has read the petition out loud. I am writing today to ask for an explanation on your behalf. What is the reason that the liberal MPPs are refusing to affix their signature to this petition? Though not legally bound to do so, is there NOT ONE liberal MPP who has the ability to show any sign of moral obligation to his or her constituents, those individuals who helped to put them into power (and who will undoubtedly remember this issue next October when they go to the polls)? Moreover, what exactly is preventing yourself and the current Minister Jim Bradley from reviewing the situation with the OSPCA? Time and time again, the reason stated has been along the lines that the OSPCA has been granted such powers under the OSPCA Act, and that the current government and ministry sees no reason to interfere. If this is the case Mr. Premier, then I ask you : What is it exactly that this government needs to see occur that can change its mind? Would the needless slaughter of 200, or 500 animals suffice? Would a few thousand more petitions help the cause? Indeed I am seeing more and more petitions signed and collected every day on the 40 000 member facebook calling for change at the OSPCA.

Mr. Premier, the individuals voicing their dismay and distrust with the OSPCA are not going to just disappear. They have stood by for too long while witnessing the organization abuse its powers, and they have had enough. It is extremely important to note that these individuals come from differing political ideologies. Some are conservative, and some are liberal, though they are uniting regardless of party lines, as they see this issue as not a political one, but as a moral and ethical one. My question to you Mr. Premier, is when will you and the rest of the liberal party open your eyes and see what your constituents already do?
Sincerely,

Gord Macey

7 comments:

  1. Great letter Gord! Yes indeed, why has this petition not been read out loud in parliament?? What are they waiting for?? What do they want??? More dead animals??? Gord is right: we are not going to go away. We need provincial oversight of the OSPCA. And he is right as well that we will remember this at election time!!!!! Come November, we'll remember...There are some great OSPCA officers out there, but the institution needs a major overhaul.. Time and time again they have needlessly killed hundreds of animals; time and time again they have violated the rights of people. They have too much power. Their police powers and their charitable status must be separated.

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  2. In 2006 twenty nine OSPCA directors resigned, among them the Chair and the Treasurer. A letter was sent to Premier McGuinty, signed by eight directors, demanding police powers be removed from the organization. Requests of this magnitude can only be the direct result of systemic, entrenched abuse of police powers by an organization

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  3. I'm not entirely convinced if letting the government police the OSPCA is the *best* option, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. Something desperately needs to be done - it's needed to be done for YEARS! It's just such a shame that the ringworm genocide is what it took for the residents of Ontario to finally band together and do something... but lets hope that they didn't die in vain and our efforts will have lasting positive effect. ♥

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  4. I am afraid I am not educated enough on the situation...the main issue I see with the OSPCA is their handling of the THS closing. I am not saying that closing the THS was wrong...it was more the way it was done that didn't sit well with me. OSPCA seemed to be grandstanding, declaring itself "the winner" in a political feud. As an animal lover (and oft rescuer) in Ontario I have to say, neither group's conduct has impressed me much of late. I have been sticking with WSPA in terms of donations and advocacy.

    I used to work in the not-for-profit sector, but left when it seemed like all too often personal power grabs/ideologies overtook concern for the greater good. Is that also the case with animal-focused organizations?

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  5. I think to a degree that is the case in far too many organizations, no matter how noble the cause. With regard to the OSPCA, what most people are disenchanted with (myself included, though everyone is entitled to their opinion)is the fact that over the past few years, the organization has clearly been mismanaged. A prime example of this fact can be found in their decision to mass euthanize 100 animals who had treatable ringworm in May. Be it poor decision making, a breakdown in protocol, or for whatever reason, the fact is that such a tragedy did not need to occur & the way the OSPCA has behaved since (refusing to be fully transparent with the public) does nothing to further its cause. Thus it seems like the best way to go is to indeed have the province step in to oversee them. On a final note, people are talking of the current management of the organization, not what the actual organization stands for. There are so many wonderful volunteers & staff at the OSPCA, who I am sure also want to see the organization become an animal welfare group that they can trust with the care of the animals in this province.

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  6. Thanks so much for providing some context. I am pretty shocked by the ringworm event (which I do remember hearing about but must have thought it had been rectified, oops) and can't imagine why that would happen in a place like Ontario. I think all animal-lovers in Ontario want to be able to fully trust and support an animal welfare group without hesitation. This page has made me realize more fully that I really *don't* trust any of the existing options at this time. But really, maybe this is just the kind of thing that needs to be regulated as a matter of course. That said, could government involvement create a new set of issues/more red tape to wade through, hampering timely action that a group like the OSPCA needs to be able to take at times? Acting judiciously of course...

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  7. Kudos for publishing this letter. It brings some important issues to light.

    Anyone who agrees with this letter should write their MPP before November 18th when Parliament will vote on Frank Klees' resolution to review the OSPCA's powers and organizational structure.

    @Anonymous What happened this summer with the ringworm outbreak was terrible but it was not a "genocide." You're doing yourself no services by exaggerating like that - if anything, it makes you look foolish and your cause foolish. "Genocide" is a powerful word that we surely will need to use in the future - don't weaken it through misuse.

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