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, I would not vote in support of “breed bans”. I do not feel this is responsible legislation, the problem lays not with a specific breed, but rather with the way the dog is raised by the owner.
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.
As above, I do not believe this legislation has been successful. Dogs of all breeds will eventually bite if threatened or under hostile circumstances. The McGuinty legislation was nothing more than a public relations exercise in the face of media sensationalism.
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.
While I would not consider this a ‘top priority’, it is certainly something that I would be willing to work on and support, so long as the system to be implemented is self-funding and not onerously unfair to pet owners.
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')?
I believe amending the SPCA is important, but weighed against concerns such as; a reliable, renewable, clean energy supply, stopping the privatization of and rebuilding our healthcare system, relieving the skyrocketing cost of property taxes, and addressing the poverty epidemic spreading through Ontario’s communities, I would rate the SPCA amendment as a 4 or 5.
5. Is there anything you'd like to add?
As a pet owner myself, I believe our animal companions are important members of our families. Having a pet at home helps decrease stress, improves health, and provides a better quality of life for people.
Thank you very much for your reply, Stephen – good luck on October 10!