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June 4th, 2019

NDP Makes Way for Passage of Bill Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins in Canada

OTTAWA – Nathan Cullen, MP has responded to calls from NDP Fisheries Critic Gord Johns and the NDP candidate for Victoria, Laurel Collins, alongside caucus colleagues Randall Garrison, Alistair MacGregor and Rachel Blaney by agreeing to make room for the last hour of debate needed on Bill S-203, which bans the captivity of whales and dolphins, before it can go to a final vote and secure passage into law. Yesterday, the NDP MPs and the new candidate for Victoria wrote a joint letter to Cullen asking that he give up his slot for private member’s business to secure passage of the bill.

Johns hailed the move as a critical first step to ensure that there is enough time before Parliament ends to see the bill passed. “I’ve been hearing from many constituents concerned that at the last stage, this bill might not get the time it needs and ends up dying on the order paper. That would be a disaster for so many people who have worked tirelessly to end the cruel practice of capturing these intelligent and sensitive creatures. New Democrats have been clear: we believe that ethical and useful research on cetaceans takes place in the wild,” said Johns.
Cullen was quick to acknowledge the role played by his colleagues in convincing him that this was the right thing to do. “I’ve heard from my NDP colleagues just how important this is. Unfortunately, delays have left my own bill, the Zero Waste Packaging Act, without the time to pass through parliament while also threatening a bill to save whales and dolphins from a life in captivity. It became clear that the right thing to do was to act to ensure that this positive step is enacted into law and we end once and for all the captivity of whales and dolphins,” stated Cullen.

Cullen has recently spoken with Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and expressed encouragement that some of the ideas from his Zero Waste Packaging Act may be included in the government’s upcoming national strategy to tackle the plastic waste crisis. These provisions are already included in the NDP’s environment and jobs plan.

NDP candidate for Victoria, Laurel Collins, thanked Cullen for giving over his slot to secure this positive change while acknowledging the continued need to act to reach zero waste. “The work by Nathan and Gord on plastic waste has really built momentum and demonstrated a clear demand for action. We’ll continue to push for bold steps to tackle plastic pollution, with the NDP’s recently announced environmental plan committing to a ban on single-use plastics by 2022. But I want to thank Nathan for listening to our call and the concerns of many people in Victoria by giving up his slot to secure the passage of this crucial new law,” added Collins.