The fight to repeal Ontario Canada’s long-standing “pit bull” ban continues.
Earlier this year, a bill to repeal the ban was making progress, until the Liberal party in Ontario created a party line stalemate that kept the bill from going for its third reading.
That bill, Bill 16, was a tri-party bill. This means that 3 political parties had endorsed and supported the bill. The bill was sponsored by Randy Hillier, Cheri DiNovo and Kim Craitor. Cheri DiNovo has been championing a repeal of the ban for some time, actively reaching out to garner support for a repeal and supporting groups with the same goal. Cheri DiNovo had previously entered 2 bills to repeal the ban before co-sponsoring Bill 16. She is widely recognized as one of the first officials to stand up and fight against the ban.
Bill 16, also referred to as Hershey’s Bill, was progressing despite opposition. This was until the hearings before the bill would have been sent to its third and final reading. In a clear display of contempt, during the last committee hearing, the Liberal party leader and Premier went so far as to substitute out the members of the party who were supportive of the bill during the hearings and the vote on the various amendments. There was a very literal divide across the table, with all of one side voting to bring the bill forward and all of the other against it.
It is within the power of the Premier to unilaterally decide to not move a bill to its third reading, regardless of the support it has by constituents and government officials. This was the case with Bill 16. The bill was never allowed to go to its third reading.
The Premier at the time, Dalton McGuinty, later stepped down, effectively killing all active bills at the moment. The term for this is proroguing. At the time of his resignation Bill 16 was prorogued.
On October 1st 2013, MPP Hillier introduced a new bill that would end the “pit bull” ban in Ontario. Video was posted on Hillier’s website of the introduction of the bill.
This new bill will have to go through the same steps as the old bill, beginning with the first reading. The new bill faces the same challenges as all the other attempts to repeal the ban. There have been several different bills and each one has met with resistance.
One of the more frustrating aspects of this is that in each case, including when the ban was originally passed, almost every person and organization, who testified at the various hearings, testified against the ban. In spite of this, certain elements within the government refuse to act against it. As with all places where parts of the Government seem to have a personal investment in the ban, the fight in Ontario is an up hill battle.
The new Premier, Kathleen Wynne, has a history of being supportive of the ban. On the Liberal party’s “Common Ground” website, a site for residents of Ontario to voice their opinions on what issues they feel the government should address, repealing the pit bull ban has been the most popular suggestion.
Every single resident of Ontario is encouraged to step forward, contact their MPP and ask them to support the repeal of this outdated and ineffective law. Click here to find your representative.
Residents of Ontario can also join the Ontario “Pit Bull” Co-Op for up to date details on events and legislative information. This would be the best way to become actively involved locally. It is important to remember that breed discriminatory laws do not change without active participation by residents in the areas these laws cover.
Hillier also has a petition on his site for residents of Ontario to sign.
Thank you, Debbie Black, for your insight into the Ontario legislative system.