The NDP has led the charge on strengthening regulations and penalties for animal abuse with MP Fin Donnelly’s Bill C-380, which would have banned the importation of shark fins, former MP Peggy Nash’s Bill C-232, which would have strengthened the language of federal animal cruelty laws and former MP Isabelle Morin’s Bill C-592 which would have established penalties for those who were guilty of cruel acts against animals.
In 2016, as your newly elected Member of Parliament, I iterated the need to protect animals from unnecessary harm by updating and strengthening Canada’s animal cruelty laws with a letter to the Justice Minister.
In March 2018, in light of Teddy the dog’s tragic situation, I rose in the House of Commons to demand the government take immediate action to put greater protections in place for animals.
I also wrote a formal letter to then Minister of Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, expressing my hope that the case of Teddy the dog will serve as a catalyst for much-needed improvements to Canada’s animal cruelty laws.
Following up on my letter to the Minister, I attended an advocacy event hosted by Paws United to commemorate Teddy, and to bring the community together to both grieve and also heal from the tragic case.
During a 2018 speech in the House of Commons on the Liberals’ inadequate animal cruelty bill C-84, I voiced the concerns of my constituents to my fellow Parliamentarians:
“When I had that community meeting in my riding, following the case of Teddy the dog, we had representatives there from the local first nations, from municipal government, a provincial MLA and myself as the federal MP. We all committed to doing what we could in our individual jurisdictions. There was that real willingness to come together to do what each of us could in our respective jurisdictions. My job as the federal member of Parliament was to take the case to this place, to our House of Commons, and to argue for the changes to the Criminal Code.”
New Democrats have long been pushing for common sense measures including the creation of a new gross negligence offence for failing to provide adequate care and allowing courts to impose a lifelong ban on animal ownership for repeat offenders.
Rest assured, as your Member of Parliament, I will continue this fight.