EDITORIAL: WHEN NONSENSE BECOMES PUBLIC POLICY

I admire people who stick to their guns and defend an unpopular position with logic and enthusiam. 

I don't admire people who stick to their guns and defend an unpopular position with bombast, distractions, specious reasoning and utter nonsense.

Dalton McGuinty and his gang are in the latter category.  Let's review the form letter response to inquiries which McGuinty has inflicted on his Candidates.

On April 29, 1998, Courtney Trempe died when she was bitten on the neck by a bullmastiff while playing at a friend's house in Stouffville.  Ontario's Coroner held an inquest and the jury made 35 recommendations, in particular, that the reliance on municipal bylaws was inadequate to safeguard the public from dangerous dogs.

 

OK, so a Bullmastiff (breeds are capitalized, Dalt) with a prior history of aggression was kept in a pen in the backyard while his owner, a lawyer, went to work.

 

One horrible day, little Courtney Trempe was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was killed by this dog.

 

Why was the dog owner allowed to mishandle and neglect his large dog in the face of repeat complaints?  The dog had an established history of prior aggression.

 

Why was there no followup to ensure that local animal control bylaws were being obeyed?

 

What does this isolated incident involving one dangerous dog owner have to do with thousands of dogs of another type, owned by thousands of people who were not party to the tragedy?

 

This statement is illogical, pandering and insulting to Courtney's mother Donna, who was dismissed at Committee by Bryant's chief lackey, David Zimmer (Lib) of Willowdale as if, like other people who testified, she didn't matter.

 

Incidentally, not only municipal bylaws but also the existing Dog Owners' Liability Act were more than adequate to control negligent dog owners.  It's just that nobody ever laid charges under DOLA and municipal enforcement, from licensing on up, has been considered unimportant in Ontario.

 

Yes, Dalton, recommendations were made – yet your government failed to implement any of them in 2005.  Your readiness to capitalize on a family's grief is beyond reprehensible.  As far as I'm concerned, you don't deserve to sit in the House, let alone lead this province.

 

On October 26, 2003, an 11-year-old girl suffered serious injuries after she was attacked by two of her grandmother's Dogue de Bordeaux dogs in Uxbridge.  The girl had over 150 puncture wounds, extensive nerve damage, and her leg had been chewed to the bone.

 

Again you invoke an isolated, preventable incident, provide no facts around the case and put the blame on the dog, not the dog's owner where it belongs.

 

It is a very common scenario:  a grandparent or other relative owns a dog or multiple dogs who are not used to untrained small children.

 

The dogs and the children are left unsupervised and something happens – a bite, a mauling or a fatality.

 

What does this tragedy have to do with Staffies, AmStaffs and APBTs? I must be dense because I just don't see it.  I also don't see how it relates to thousands of innocent dog owners across the province, especially since this tragedy, like many others, took place on private property and was preventable.

 

On August 28, 2004, a 25-year-old Toronto man was seriously injured after he was mauled by pit bulls he was walking for a friend.  The man was rescued by the police, who shot the dogs.

 

Ah yes, the person who was 'being eaten from the ground up' according to your parody of an Attorney General. What ever happened to that guy?  There was zero followup in the media – no closeups of his bites, no picture of him bandaged up after visiting hospital, no interview – hell, we never even learned his name, did we?  If so, I must have missed it in the one flaming news report that ran on the case.

 

That person had bred the dogs involved.  It was the middle of the night, downtown in an alleyway.  He was, according to witnesses, inebriated and was holding one of the dogs in a headlock when they attacked him.

 

Those dogs had a reputation in the neighbourhood for being nasty.

 

In other words, it wasn't just a young man walking a couple of dogs for a friend.  But you knew that, Dalton.

 

Incidentally, the police shot one dog repeatedly and smothered the other one with a discarded mattress after they'd filled the poor animal full of daylight.

 

If you're going to tell a story, old sport, at least tell the whole story.

 

These incidents, and others like them, convinced us that provincial action was necessary to protect the public from dangerous pit bulls.

 

Oh, OK, that makes sense, except the first two stories don't involve 'pit bulls', whatever they may be.  Just dangerous 'pit bulls' will be controlled, not the 99.9% of all dogs, including bulldogs, who never bite anybody.

 

So you are going to enforce licensing, act on complaints, keep records of offenses, enforce leashing, promote obedience training and sterilization of family pets. 

 

Excellent, it's about time somebody enforced the existing regulations and made an attempt to educate novice dog owners.

 

The Public Safety Related to Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act (formerly Bill 132) is now law and the government has implemented the legislation. That legislation bans pit bulls and toughens penalties for the owners of any dog that poses a danger to the public.

 

You sing a good song, Sonny, but unfortunately 'pit bulls' aren't banned in the true sense.  You say they are 'grandfathered'.  They aren't grandfathered at all, so their owners are suffering undue discrimination but that aside, all those 'pit bulls' which scared the panties off your Attorney General are still living in Ontario.

 

Furthermore, the toughened penalties (possible jail time and increased fines) are meaningless without enforcement.

 

How many people have gone to jail?  How many people have paid the maximum, $10,000 fine?

 

Oh, none.  What a surprise.  Just like before when the tools to control bad dog owners existed and were never used.

 

I know you've been conducting a witch hunt, looking for unlicensed 'pit bulls' but that's not quite the same thing as acting to protect people from dangerous dogs.

 

Although your actions continue to indicate that it's not what's true, it's what people believe is true that counts, quite a few of us do indeed know the facts. 

We are committed to building safe, strong communities and to protecting Ontarians. We passed this legislation to respond to the concerns of Ontarians about their personal safety, and we proudly stand behind this law. We heard loud and clear that Ontarians want to be protected from the menace of pit bulls. We have established strict regulations for existing pit bulls, making owners more responsible and helping make Ontario communities safer.

 

Loud and clear.  Hmmmm….a few people with a vendetta mentality pushed to ban a perceived breed of dog.  Granted.  Overall though, aside from the people in the Attorney General's office who were bullied into signing a pro-ban petition in violation of government ethics, there just weren't many people who supported the ban.  Spin, spin all is spin.

 

At least you didn't mention the 4,000 or 5,000 emails in favour of the ban and to be honest, when I look through the box of research materials, correspondence and written submissions to the Committee I can only find a handful of hen-scratched notes asking you to save us from the big, bad doggies.

 

I think this was just a media opportunity, an attempt to be perceived as addressing a crisis – which you created.  Government the snake swallowing its own tail.

 

You callously legislated honest citizens in this province into second-class status based on fiction and on your own self-serving desires.  This is unconscionable and indefensible and I wish you had the guts to admit it.

 

Is this what we've become?  Is govertainment what people want these days?

 

I hope not.

 

Not only did we protect Ontarians from vicious pit bulls, but we also protected them from irresponsible owners of any dangerous dogs. The legislation that we passed also increase fines up to a maximum of $10,000 and allow jail sentences up to six months for owners whose dogs are involved in an attack ($60,000 fines for corporations were also passed).

Well, kiddo, people are still being bitten by 'pit bulls' in Ontario, if your handmaidens in the media can be believed – and that's a huge 'if'.

 

In fact you did nothing to protect the two people killed by dogs in Ontario since the ban was enacted.  You didn't protect the little girl sent to hospital this spring when she had her face mauled by a Golden retriever.  You didn't protect the kids in St Catharines who were worked over by a GSD who jumped the fence to get them, as he'd done before.  You didn't protect the kid whose lip was torn off by a JRT.  You didn't help the kid mauled by a Border Collie.  The kid in Hamilton attacked by Rottweilers at Christmas.  The person in Peterborough attacked by a Labrador retriever.  The Pomeranian killed by two Labs on the prowl.  And so on and so forth.

 

Instead, you legislated the owners of three extremely rare purebred dogs into a waking nightmare.  You sold them down the river, threw them to the howling mob to save your own skin.

 

Your law is ineffective, discriminatory and un-Canadian.

 

People should be suing you for breach of promise, for putting them into danger by misleading them about which dogs bite, for treating them unequally under the law.

 

This legislation, like much of your other legislation, is an insult to the citizens of Ontario.

 

We believe this law will help protect not only Ontarians, but also many Ontario dogs that might otherwise themselves become the victims of pit bull attacks. We have set high standards for responsible dog ownership in the province of Ontario, and we are proud of our record.

 

You 'believe' this law 'will help' to protect people and animals.  Believe.  Will.

 

Dude, your law has been in effect for over two years now.  Don't you have any actual statistics?  Why are you using the future tense?  When does the protection kick in?

 

Come on, McGuinty, let me into your fantasy world, just for a couple of minutes because I can't figure out where you get your crazy ideas.

 

You make me ill and I hope it's contagious.

 

Dalton, baby, you have to go.

 

The opinions expressed here are mine, I tell you, mine all mine but I hope they reflect yours.  These are not necessarily the opinions of the DLCC, in case anybody asks.

4 Comments

  1. HERE HERE!!!
    Excellent article! McGuinty will pay for his grandstanding and photo-oping on the backs of responsible dog owners in this province! Bryant will be along side of him paying the huge price being the bum buddies they are! Oct 10th is D Day boys and girls.. We the citizens of Ontario, the law abiding, tax paying p****d off as hell citizens will be sending a huge message to you all! Just say NO to LIBERALS on Oct 10th! You are going down in flames! We are sending you a message you can't ignore. It is called “YOUR'RE FIRED”. PACK YOUR FAMILY PICTURES AND BUBBLE GUM FROM YOUR DESK AND GET THE HELL OUT! 4 long years of your terrorizing this province is more than enough! Don't let the door hit ya…. rather I hope it slams your butt right out the door of Queen's Park!

  2. Excellent summation, which accurately reflects my views and beliefs.
    If not breach of promise, the Fibs should be sued for false advertising.

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