Question Period: Business of the Environment Committee

By: The Hon. Marty Klyne

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Beach and waterfront, Vancouver

Hon. Marty Klyne: Thank you, Madam Speaker. My sincere congratulations.

My question today is for Senator Galvez, Chair of the Environment Committee.

Senator Galvez, Bill S-241, the Jane Goodall act, has been at second reading for nearly 14 months. With the central objective of this bill being to protect wild animals in captivity, we need to get this bill to committee. No more delay tactics — delay prevents us from hearing from expert witnesses, including Dr. Jane Goodall, the Honourable Murray Sinclair, scientists, zoos and animal welfare groups. Each passing day risks animal welfare, not to mention public safety. For example, without this bill, licences are not required in Ontario to own tigers, crocodiles or venomous snakes.

Bill S-241 would be administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. At least five Senate committees have studied this bill in recent years, which involves criminality, including your committee last year with Bill S-5 and Bill S-6.

As Chair of the Environment Committee, can you confirm your support towards receiving the Jane Goodall act for study and that the committee is available?

Hon. Rosa Galvez: Allow me to congratulate you too, Madam Speaker, on your appointment.

Thank you very much for your question, Senator Klyne. I can see two aspects to your question. One is a technical issue and the other is procedural.

On the technical part, I do believe that the Energy Committee, or ENEV, is the right committee to study Bill S-241 because questions on the bill encompass the protection of biodiversity, flora and fauna. You’re right that during consideration of Bill S-5 we talked about animal protection while discussing the use of toxic substances in animal testing. Therefore, yes, the ENEV mandate could encompass this bill.

The other part of your question is about why we’re not receiving the bill. Let me share with you that I believe that we and many other senators who have tabled private members’ bills are wondering what’s happening with these bills. These are discussions that take place at the scroll or the leaders’ meetings, and we don’t have access because these meetings are not public. We need to know what’s happening with that.

The Hon. the Speaker: Do you have an answer to the question, Senator Galvez?

Senator Galvez: Yes. I think our work at any committee, including ENEV, with respect to this bill is impacted because we don’t have the planning on when your bill will arrive. Thank you.

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