Gail McCabe, NDP Candidate for Missisauga-Streetsville, responds to our survey.
1. If the amended Dog Owners' Liability Act (2005) came up today for a free rather than a whipped vote as happened in 2005, WOULD YOU VOTE IN FAVOUR OF BANNING BREEDS as an effective way to protect people from dog bites? PLEASE EXPLAIN.
No! Any animal may bite when threatened. Better to train people to care for their animals. This sort of training could be legislated in the same way that mandatory attendance at schools has been legislated.
2. PLEASE TELL OUR READERS WHY YOU THINK THE 'PIT BULL' BAN enacted by the McGuinty government HAS OR HAS NOT BEEN SUCCESSFUL in protecting the public from dog bites.
The ban unfairly punishes pit bulls when all breeds and any individuals may bite the hand that feeds them. There are many reasons why this is so. Training, temperament, and supervision are chief amongst these. Perhaps, all dog owners should be subject to a doggie care test prior to being licensed. There should be stiffer penalties for having an unlicensed animal.
In that way, we could ensure that dogs were protected from neglect, abuse, failure to supervise and provide the necessities of life by owners.
3. Would you be willing, if elected, to WORK TO RESCIND ONTARIO'S AMENDED DOG OWNERS\' LIABILITY ACT (2005) and REPLACE IT WITH AN EXISTING, EASILY IMPLEMENTED CANADIAN SYSTEM that has been effective in the control of negligent pet owners, that is supported by all responsible pet owners and that once established is fully funded by dog and cat owners rather than through general revenue taxation? PLEASE BRIEFLY EXPLAIN YOUR RESPONSE.
Sounds like a good idea … I'd want to know more about the replacement system prior to supporting it unconditionally.
4. HOW IMPORTANT to you is the issue of AMENDING ONTARIO'S ANIMAL CRUELTY LEGISLATION, the Ontario SPCA Act, using a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is 'not at all important' and 10 is 'extremely important')?
As a dog owner who has rescued three wonderful beagles, I think amending the animal cruelty legislation to provide stronger prevention incentives (owner training) and penalties for cruelty is a top priority — 10.
In my opinion, dogs are people too, so are cats!! My dogs and cats have enriched my life.
I believe that training and prevention would reduce cruelty and abuse where owners have little understanding of the nature of their pets and little sense of responsibility for these issues. Where mental dysfunction is the source of the cruelty, I doubt that education will reduce the cruelty. Cruelty to animals is often a precursor to violence and cruelty to humans as we saw, for example, with Jeffrey Dahmer and other sociopaths.
5. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
Sadly, but realistically, I think that it is easy to answer positively to your questions; it would be very much more difficult to ensure that such initiatives were prioritized.
Dogs, cats and other animals contribute so much to our society in numerous ways.
Our physical and mental health are improved when a pet joins the family. We should value them, protect them and treat them accordingly.
We must also look to our society and our synthetic culture. By that I mean that culture is a product that is sold in the market. That is why it so often presents cruel and inhumane images and actions. It must attract consumers and it does so by appealing to our potential for cruelty. I'm thinking of the genre of shows like Survivor and The Apprentice that are cruel in nature and humiliate participants. We, all of us, have the potential to be cruel.
In order to promote kindness to animals, we must promote a kinder, gentler society.
Thank you very much for your participation.
It's a pleasure to respond on such an important topic.
There you have it, a thoughtful response from another candidate who 'gets it'. Thank you very much for replying, and so promptly, Dr McCabe!
PS I don't watch programs such as Survivor, Fear Factor, The Apprentice, etc, for exactly the reasons you describe.