Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What Does Dalton McGuinty's Resignation Mean For Animal Welfare In Ontario?

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have.....

A very uncertain state when it comes to animal welfare reform in the province. The premier's surprising decision can be looked upon two ways. I'll leave it to political pundits to talk incessantly over the next week, though his move certainly seems nothing short of cowardly (if only we could prorogue our own industries when things don't go our way).

On one side we can be hopeful that whoever steps up to the plate to lead the liberals has a conscience and at least makes an effort to ensure a stable animal welfare system. Mr. McGuinty spent his nine years in power essentially washing his hands of any animal issues. BSL? The premier refused to listen to dozens of experts from around the globe stating that the law is essentially useless in curbing the rate of dangerous dog attacks within the province. The OSPCA? McGuinty time and again expressed through his actions the belief that the organization should be left to its own devices of intransparency and unaccountability. Let's hope the next leader of the liberal party is more willing than Dalton McGuinty proved to be to put party lines aside and do what is best for the animals. Time will tell.

Flip the coin and a huge roadblock now exists where animal welfare activists have to start from scratch with regard to many issues. If the legislature remains suspended for a significant time, as many believe it might be until at least the spring, resolutions that have been debated in the legislature are now found floating in mid air with no follow through. The treatment of animals at Marineland? Sorry folks they'll have to suffer a little longer as the doors are closed at Queen's Park. Thousands and thousands of signatures presented before the legislature to repeal Bred Specific Legislation? Oops, those will have to be reintroduced and debated. Provincial oversight of the OSPCA to monitor its abuse of powers and refusal to be open to Ontarians? It might just still happen. How does 2015 sound?

Remember when you were a child and sat in the classroom learning how a bill becomes a law? I may not remember the entire lesson but I do remember that politicians actually have to meet with each other. Let's hope measures are taken quickly so that parliament may resume and voiceless animals across Ontario are not left in the dust, yet again.