(OTTAWA) — Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May is calling on her Conservative counterpart, Andrew Scheer, to stand up to his own senators and order them to stop obstructing legislation that will phase out whale and dolphin captivity.
“[Conservative senators’] procedural delay of this legislation disappoints the tens of thousands of Canadians who wish to see a vote on this bill, and reflects poorly on the national Conservative caucus,” said Ms. May in an open letter to the Conservative Party leader.
Ms. May was referring to a series of tactics that have kept the bill in the Senate since it was introduced more than two years ago, in December, 2015. Bill S-203, the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, would phase out the captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans) and was originally introduced by retired Senator Wilfred Moore. It is now sponsored by Senator Murray Sinclair.
In her letter to Mr. Scheer, Ms. May highlighted a series of manoeuvres Conservative senators have used to hamstring the bill, including a little-used tactic known as a hoist amendment and a closed-door effort to quietly kill the bill last June. The latest ploy is a Conservative effort to not allow the bill to come to the Senate floor for final reading, despite the fact that it was passed, with amendments, by the Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans by a vote of 9-5.”
Ms. May said that, while she personally strongly supports the bill, the real issue is the constant delaying tactics. And while she supports the changes being made to create an independent Senate, the behaviour of Conservative senators is reminiscent of other abuses of process, including efforts to delay debate on transgender rights, the gender-neutral national anthem, and cannabis legalization.
“Those who support phasing out the captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoises in Canada are not afraid of losing a democratic vote,” said Ms. May. “The same cannot be said of members of the Conservative Senate caucus, given their repeated efforts to frustrate the democratic process.”
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