By Connor Lynch
OTTAWA — A Liberal backbencher’s bill proposing changes to Canada’s animal cruelty laws, including expanded rights to animals, was defeated on Oct. 5.
The bill had come under heavy criticism from farm organizations and rural politicians. One of Bill C-246’s most outspoken critics, Manitoba Conservative MP Robert Sopuck, said that the bill would have jeopardized traditional animal use, from livestock farming to medical research. Bill C-246 was promoted as modernizing offences against animals.
Sopuck said the bill was being supported by animal rights extremists such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Animal Justice Canada and their goal is to ban animal agriculture.
MP Larry Miller (Con.-Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound) told Parliament the bill would recast animal cruelty as an offence against person, instead of property. This “begins to suggest that animals are entitled to the full right of human beings and have the right to be represented in court,” he said. “I find this deeply troubling, as it could be the beginning of the end of hunting, farming, angling and trapping.”
Miller added that the proposed bill would expand what it means to recklessly cause harm or suffering to animals but it was not clearly defined. “Would hitting an animal with a car constitute reckless harm or suffering?”
The bill was defeated 198 to 84, with many Liberal MPs voting against it, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Only two Conservative members (both in Calgary) voted in favour of the bill that was largely urban and NDP driven. Of 37 NDP MPs, 36 voted in favour of the bill.
This is the fourth time that an animal rights bill expanding animal rights has been defeated in Parliament.
Here are the MPs in rural Ontario that voted in favour of the bill:
• William Amos (Lib. — Pontiac, Que.)
• Neil Ellis (Lib. — Bay of Quinte)
• Mark Gerretsen (Lib. — Kingston and the Islands)
• Mark Holland (Lib. — Ajax)
• Cheryl Hardcastle (NDP — Windsor-Tecumseh)
• Irene Mathyssen (NDP — London-Fanshawe)
• Bryan May (Lib. — Cambridge)
• Tracey Ramsey (NDP — Essex)
• Marwan Tabbara (Lib. — Kitchener- South)