We received this honest, non-scripted reply from candidate Steve Holmes last night.
Steve, best of luck on October 10 and thank you very much for your thoughtful and detailed response in the heat of an election campaign.
Below please find my responses to your survey. Thank you for caring about dogs and other animals.
Steve Holmes NDP Campaign
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.
ANSWER: No, I would not vote in favour of banning breeds. As you probably
know, my party, the NDP, actively opposed this legislation when it was proposed by the McGuinty Liberals.
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.
ANSWER: Dogs of all breeds can bite if they are mistreated or not properly
cared for so it is unfair to target one or two breeds for banning. The way to protect the public is by dealing with cruel and negligent dog owners, not by banning specific breeds.
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
ANSWER: This is certainly a proposal that I would explore with pet owners and their organizations as a way to find a better solution for controlling negligent pet
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')?
ANSWER: The NDP has been working hard to propose and implement amendments to eliminate cruelty to animals. Personally I would rank it as a very important issue and at least an 8 or a 9 on your scale.
5. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU\'D LIKE TO ADD?
The NDP is also concerned about the treatment of zoo animals. In the legislature on May 9th, 2005, the NDP Critic for Natural Resources asked Minister David Ramsay to promulgate regulations to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act that would have provided protection to non-native, exotic animal species captive in roadside zoos. Over two years later the regulations have still not been passed.
There must be mandatory licensing and standards for the proper care and
housing of all animals kept in zoos, both for native wildlife and exotics, as well as proper inspection mechanisms and corresponding funding.
Working with Ontarians, the NDP would determine to either amend the existing
regulations under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, develop new
zoo-specific legislation, or amend the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals Act in order to ensure animals in captivity, including non-native and
exotic species, are properly protected.
Further, New Democrats have committed to increasing the enforcement budget of
the Ministry of Natural Resources by $50 million annually. In the event
amendments to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act where passed, MNR would have the funding necessary to ensure that animals kept in zoos are properly cared for and protected.
New Democrats would make cruelty to animals a provincial offence.
OSPCA Act Reform:
Working with Ontarians, New Democrats would reform the OSPCA to ensure that animals, including those presently left unprotected in roadside zoos, are
properly protected under the law.