Criticisms of C-246 are obvious attempts to derail legislation

Hundreds of you have written to your MPs, asking for their support for Bill C-246 – or the Modernizing Animal Protections Act. This legislation will update loopholes in the Criminal Code, ban the import and sale of shark fins, require all fur items be labelled, and ban the importation and sale of dog and cat fur.

While the private members bill is being promoted by a Liberal MP – Beaches-East York’s Nathaniel Erskine-Smith – it clearly isn’t a piece of policy that’s based in one party’s ethos. That, however, hasn’t stopped some MPs from outright attacking the legislation.

Much of the criticisms have been spearheaded by Conservative MP Robert Sopuck, an outspoken supporter of the fur trade, who has made wild allegations about C-246 and sourced a team of “legal experts” that has never been named.

VIDEO: Law professor Peter Sankoff on C-246 and MP Robert Sopuck’s criticisms

Some of the more bemusing highlights from MPs include Conservative MP Dianne Watts, who thinks that “any animal being killed by a human for any reason … other than veterinary chemical cocktails” would be criminalized, and Liberal MP Stephen Fuhr, whose office for some reason forwarded a letter from Minister of International TradeChrystia Freeland regarding cat and dog fur, which is nearly identical to one sent out by past Conservative governments.

The Fuhr/Freeland letter, of course, is one we’re familiar with: a canned response from government officials who repeat the dribble written by the Fur Council of Canada, as though they are in some way a legal authority on labelling laws in Canada (they’re not; they’re a lobby group that promotes the fur industry).

The majority of criticisms are political in nature – they aren’t based on actual legal interpretations or legitimate questions. And, of course, the bill has a long way to go – at least two more readings, committee, and the senate, before it becomes law – plenty of time for questions and judicial review. But too many of these attacks on the legislation are just that – baseless attacks to support partisan or lobbying efforts.

Please continue to write your MP and tell them you expect them to support C-246 – and it will be a matter you’ll remember at the polls and party donation/nomination time.

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