On October 26, 2021 our recently re-elected Prime Minister announced Canada’s new cabinet.
The election left us with another Liberal minority government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) led by the Honourable Erin O’Toole is once again the official opposition. The Prime Minister has stated he intends to resume Parliament on November 22. In the interim, the goals for the new Parliament are being decided.
Animal advocates can let the Prime Minister know that we intend to hold him accountable for animal-related promises included in the Liberal Party election platform.
So too, can we urge the Leader of the Opposition to use his influence to promote and support the animal-related promises made in the Conservative Party of Canada’s platform.
The previous Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, failed to modernize trauma training during his tenure, training that uses live animals who are intentionally wounded. The new Minister of National Defence is now the Honourable Anita Anand. I understand that Ms. Anand will be most involved with addressing the toxic culture in the armed forces that has allowed sexual harassment to go unchecked. Nevertheless, the abuse of animals in trauma training is something that she must also deal with. It’s our job to convince her of that.
At AAC we are working on briefing documents to help inform Minister Anand how animals are currently used and that there are highly effective non-animal training options available. We will continue to work with the Minister until she finally ends the use of animals for military trauma training. Twenty-two of the 28 NATO countries use human simulators and other alternatives to live animals, a vastly more modern and effective method that provides better training for military medical personnel and does not inflict shocking injury and suffering on animals. No election promise was made regarding this issue, but there should have been – both for the safety of Canada’s military personnel and to eliminate abuse inflicted on animals.
The previous Minister of Health was the Honourable Patty Hadju. In spite of extensive activism for the introduction and passage of a Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Bill, Ms. Hadju did not move this issue forward. Nevertheless, I am grateful that under the jurisdiction of her ministry the use of strychnine to poison Richardson’s Ground Squirrels was banned. This decision will save many thousands of animals from painful deaths through poisoning.
Now, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos has been appointed to the Health Ministry. We will approach Minister Duclos to urge a response to the numerous Canadians who have all but begged for a Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act. Both the Liberals and the CPC made promises regarding this issue in their platforms. If both parties agree then there is no impediment to quick passage of a new Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Bill for Canada.
The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food remains the Honourable Marie- Claude Bibeau. Ms. Bibeau has already had ample opportunity to promote a ban on the live export of horses for slaughter. There has been a hard-fought campaign on this matter (by our friends at the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition) and the economic impact of such a ban would affect only a small group of business people. Yet, as we have seen repeatedly with the previous government, even localized issues like this, which would clearly have improved the lot of some animals, have been ignored. The Liberal election platform did include a promise to ban the live export of horses for slaughter, so let’s work together to hold them to that promise.
I urge you all to take a minute to contact our Prime Minister. Urge him to direct the newly-appointed ministers to include animal-related goals in their work plans, especially those issues that were included in the Liberal platform.
And let’s remind the Leader of the Opposition that we expect his party to promote and support the animal-related election promises that his party.
Contact the Leaders
Prime Minister Trudeau’s party promised to: “Introduce legislation to end cosmetic testing on animals as soon as 2023 and phase out toxicity testing on animals by 2035.”
Let me unpack this promise. The Liberals should be able to table a cruelty-free cosmetics bill quickly. Note that the Liberals’ promise was only to “introduce” a new bill within two years. There has already been extensive work done among advocates like us, and industry representatives. A new bill can be prepared and passed within 2022 if both the Liberal Party of Canada and the Conservative Party of Canada demonstrate the political will.
The commitment to phase out toxicity testing is more challenging and it may take to 2035 to achieve the goal. However, we need to keep pressure on the Liberals so the 2035 phase-out is realized.
Tell The Leaders We Expect Them to Keep Their Promises
I invite you to call or send a quick email to both our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau and the leader of the Opposition, Erin O’Toole.
Please share any thoughts you care to, but urge them to quickly follow through on their platform promises regarding better protection and welfare for animals in Canada.
Ask our Prime Minister to direct Canada’s cabinet ministers to:
1) Move quickly on introduction and passage of a new Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act
2) Introduce and pass a bill to ban the Live-Export of Horses for Slaughter
3) Include a new commitment to better protect Canada’s military personnel, and end the unnecessary abuse of animals by adopting non-animal methods for military trauma training.
We all know that our advocacy must continue to press for policies that would mitigate the climate emergency by helping farmers phase out of animal agriculture to better protect the environment and their own incomes by adopting more resilient and sustainable, plant-based farming.
This larger initiative is essential to slow down the climate emergency, but is a long- range goal. I will ask you for your support on this as the work of Parliament resumes.
The three immediate requests I’m asking you to promote are achievable in one or two years. Many animal lives would be spared and much suffering would be alleviated. In describing our strategy in the past, I’ve said that our key goal is to transform the entire relationship that humans have with non-human animals to one that is no longer based on dominance and exploitation. But while we work for that long-range goal we also work to ‘reduce the body count’ by saving as many animals and reducing as much suffering as we can. All three of these immediate initiatives would meet those goals.
To Phone or Email Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
To Phone or Email Opposition leader, Erin O’Toole
A big thank you for all your support and generosity
I want to thank each and every one of you for your support, compassion, tenacity and generosity. Without you we would not have won the battles we have, nor could we fight on to win even more. Please know that we are always aware of who it is that empowers us to keep working. It’s people like you and so many others who make up our Animal Alliance family.
Photo credit for horse: Image by dendoktoor  from Pixabay 
Photo credit for rabbits: Image by Carmen Janosch  from Pixabay