Photo Credit: Pacific White-sided Dolphin from BCadventure.com
Last week North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney, along with her colleagues Gord Johns, Randall Garrison, Alistair MacGregor, and Victoria candidate Laurel Collins requested that MP Nathan Cullen give up an hour of debate for his private members bill in order to ensure the final debate and vote would be held for a bill to ban the captivity of whales and dolphins. Cullen generously obliged, and on Monday Bill S-203 was passed.
The Bill bans the capture, breeding, import and export of whales and dolphins, but does allow for rehabilitation and rescue, and grandfathers in animals currently held at facilities such as the Vancouver Aquarium and Marineland.
As the parliamentary session comes to a close later this month, the Bill in its final stages would have died on the order paper were it not for the intervention by the west coast NDP MPs.
Blaney spoke in support of the bill during the final hour of debate saying: “this really is not a partisan issue. It is a moral issue. It is a bill that is supported by science. We know that whales, porpoises and dolphins in captivity suffer in a way that cannot be justifiable. We know that this bill is a reasonable one. It is a balanced piece of legislation. It grandfathers the process and it gives zoos and aquariums time to phase out this practice.”
She also thanked Cullen for allowing the debate and vote to be held, as well as MP Fin Donnelly, who raised the issue of whales in captivity for years as NDP critic for Fisheries & Oceans leading to the newly passed legislation.