Our Response to the Defeat of Bill C-246
If you want a way to deal with puppy mills and dogfighting, and want stronger anti-cruelty laws for all animals, then we need to change our voting system to ever achieve those goals.
If you want animals to be better protected, please join us in this essential challenge – changing Canada’s electoral system.
Bill C-246, a much-needed bill to revise Canada’s outdated animal protection laws was defeated by politicians who sided with special interests who harm and kill animals for sport and profit.
The heartfelt pleas and well organized efforts of ordinary Canadians who simply want animals to receive reasonable protections were ignored. Again.
For those of us who want animals to be protected in a modern and reasonable way, electoral reform is critical.
For decades, we’ve seen influential lobby groups that serve the animal-use industries sway federal and provincial governments to keep animal protection laws weak.
It seems that in Canada animal using industries fear even the most modest and reasonable animal protection reforms in a way that’s similar to how American gun lobbyists fight reasonable restrictions. Many of these industries tend to dominate rural ridings, unduly influencing their elected representatives.
Meanwhile, those of us who want a better deal for animals are spread out across Canada, and do not dominate individual ridings in the same way as those rural voters.
All together we add up to a considerable percentage of voters who deserve to have our voices heard by our political leaders.
Now, with Bill C-246 this sad tale unfolded once again.
Bill C-246 was defeated in a vote of 198 MPs against, and only 84 MPs in favour of better animal protection laws. Sad indeed.
Here is why electoral reform could make all of the difference.
If we used one of the forms of voting called Proportional Representation (PR), systems that are used in stable nations with first world economies like Germany, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands, then a greater variety of political voices would have representation in Parliament. A greater diversity of opinions and values could influence laws and policies. In nations with PR voting systems, we tend to see less domination by one ruling party, so compromise and working together becomes more important. Note that there are various forms of RP systems used in different countries.
According to how Canadians voted across Canada during the last election, if we had used a PR system, we would have more Green Party MPs in Parliament right now. This would matter to us who care for animals because the Green Party has a better platform regarding animal welfare than some of the other parties. As well, support for the environment includes protection of wild spaces, the natural habitat of wild animals, so wild animals would benefit greatly from better environmental policies.
With a PR system, the votes of citizens across Canada are combined and can send members of smaller, alternative parties to Parliament; parties like the Greens and even a party like the one that I belong to, ‘Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada’, a party dedicated to representing fairer treatment of animals.
[Note: The Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada is now named Animal Protection Party of Canada: see: www.AnimalProtectionParty.ca]
Does that sound like a political pipe dream? In the Netherlands, there are representatives of a party called ‘The Party for Animals‘ holding elected office. And, it’s not a coincidence that the Netherlands uses a form of PR to elect their leaders.
You can read more about Proportional Representation at the sites below, and we ask that you have a serious look at the systems called Single Transferrable Vote (STV) and Mixed Member Proportional (MMP).
Both of these systems are forms of PR. Either one would help us to elect a more diverse mix of representatives who will be less beholden to special interests that can control ridings; groups like hunters, anglers, trappers and farmers who have held back better animal protection legislation for decades.
Nations that use some form of PR to elect their political leaders tend to have higher voter turnout and elect higher percentages of women and members of visible minorities – in other words, more democratic and truly representative governments.
We prefer STV even though it took more study to understand how it works, but any form of PR would be a big improvement for Canadian democracy. If you find STV difficult to understand as we did at first, remember that the system does not make voting itself more difficult. It is the counting of votes that is more complex, and that task will be handled by Elections Canada using computer technology.
First-Past-The-Post is easy to understand. And, it is familiar. But it has served alternative voices poorly and lead to our current situation where Canada’s treatment of animals lags behind most modern, technologically-advanced nations. Please do not let a fear of change prevent us from seizing this important historical moment.
Prime Minister Trudeau promised that the recent election would be the last one to use the outdated First-Past-The-Post system.
Reforming our electoral system to Proportional Representation will allow for better representation regarding all matters, not just animal protection.
PR would better serve every Canadian.
The NDP, Green Party of Canada, the Council of Canadians, as well as our own Animal Protection Party of Canada (APPC) all recommend Proportional Representation.
Animal Alliance of Canada and APPC strongly recommend either STV or MMP.
This matter is being discussed right now in Canada. MPs are open to hearing from us.
A committee of MPs, led by Minister of Democratic Institutions, Minister Maryam Monsef, will file a report on recommendations for Electoral Reform on December 1, 2016.
While we continue to work so hard to protect animals – an uphill battle – let’s also create a process where we can elect MPs who hear our voices too, MPs who will finally engage in real progress for animal protection.
Our best way to influence this decision is to communicate directly with the Minister of Democratic Institutions, Minister Maryam Monsef and your own MP.
Minister Monsef will be working on her report before the Dec. 1st deadline so we urge you to contact her by October 31, 2016 to let her know that proportional representation is important.
We all need to email, write, and phone to let Parliament know that we want improved diversity and fairness. Only Proportional Representation will do.
Find your MP at:
Learn more at: