Free Willy bill hits new wave of Tory stalling tac­tics

Sen. Don Plett ob­struct­ing bill that bans keep­ing dol­phins and whales in cap­tiv­ity

StarMetro Edmonton - - CANADA - Holly Lake

A new sit­ting may be un­der­way in the Sen­ate, but year­sold stalling tac­tics to hold up a bill ban­ning whale and dol­phin cap­tiv­ity in Canada are in full swing.

Tabled in De­cem­ber 2015 by for­mer Lib­eral Sen. Wil­fred Moore, Bill S-203, End­ing the Cap­tiv­ity of Whales and Dol­phins Act, has been in the red cham­ber for nearly three years now. The Con­ser­va­tives, led by Sen. Don Plett, the Tories’ whip and cau­cus critic on the bill, have re­peat­edly used pro­ce­dural ob­struc­tion to keep it from mov­ing to a vote — a tac­tic that ap­pears to have the sup­port of the Con­ser­va­tive cau­cus.

On Tues­day, it was Sen. David Tkachuk’s turn. He put for­ward a sub-amend­ment on an amend­ment that was in­tro­duced A fe­male res­i­dent Orca whale breaches while swim­ming in Puget Sound near Bain­bridge Is­land, B.C., as seen from a re­search ves­sel on Jan. 18, 2014. A bill to ban the cap­tiv­ity of cetaceans in Canada is stalled in the Sen­ate.

on June 12 by fel­low Tory Sen. Scott Tan­nas to ex­clude the Van­cou­ver Aquar­ium

from be­ing cov­ered by the bill. At that same June sit­ting, Plett also made a sub-amend­ment

to ex­clude Marineland in Ni­a­gara Falls, Ont.

Those are the only two fa­cil­i­ties

that keep cap­tive cetaceans in Canada.

“It’s ap­palling,” said Camille Labchuk, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of An­i­mal Jus­tice.

At the same June sit­ting where the moves were made to ex­clude Marineland and the Van­cou­ver Aquar­ium, pro­ce­dural mo­tions from Con­ser­va­tive sen­a­tors pre­vented a vote on the amend­ments, or the bill, which sent things late into the night — some­thing Sen. Yuen Pau Woo, the leader of the In­de­pen­dent Sen­a­tors Group, said Cana­di­ans would have been ap­palled to watch, had it been tele­vised.

Tues­day, Plett stood and spoke in favour of the new sub-amend­ment, paint­ing the process once again as “a clear bat­tle be­tween ac­tivists and sci­en­tists.”

He re­peated his claim that it’s “agenda-driven rad­i­cal ac­tivists” push­ing the bill for­ward. Yet at com­mit­tee, in ad­di­tion to re­searchers from the Van­cou­ver Aquar­ium who spoke out against the bill, a slew of sci­en­tists spoke in sup­port of the bill.

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