Tag Archives: “Stephen Harper”

Destructive, Damnable, Deceits and Denials

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Kim Craitor, Ontario Liberal MPP for Niagara Falls, Fort Erie and Niagara-on-the-Lake, came forward recently to applaud the “Stop Slaughtering Us” billboard erected on August 19th in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  The billboard,  located near the US/Canadian border,  informs viewers that horses are being slaughtered in Canada for their meat when they are not raised as food-producing animals.

MPP Craitor stated that “In conversation with the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) and after reviewing materials on horse slaughter in Canada, I was shocked to discover the scope of the issues and concerns within this industry.” He continued, “I fully support NDP MP Alex Atamanenko’s Bill C-322 that would prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption.  It was very troubling to learn that over 80,000 horses were killed for their meat last year in Canada, and that the majority were transported here from the U.S.”

citycouncilToronto City Council has also voted in support of federal Bill C-322 and is calling for the Province of Ontario to prohibit the sale, movement and shipment of horses in Ontario for the purpose of slaughter.  NDP Whip and MP for Hull-Aylmer, Nycole Turmel is onboard and opposed to horse slaughter.  We hope that Liberal MPP Craitor’s support is just the beginning, as more horse advocates continue to promote factual information to their political representatives.

Despite the hard-won advances we’ve made in Canada with various postcard and email campaigns, the scintillating truth of our beliefs doesn’t always mean that it will be obvious to other politicians. I can only wonder why so many Liberal and Conservative politicians continue to hold contrary and downright incorrect viewpoints about horse slaughter.  What could their motivations be? Cognitive limitations? Perhaps they are simply lying to themselves (denial) – that is my gut reaction. Perhaps they’re trying to save their skins after being vested in their belief system for so long that it would be embarrassing to admit that their opinions deserve instantaneous and categorical dismissal.  And what other information have they provided to their constituents that is just plain wrong?

When John Stuart Mill labeled British Conservatives “the Stupid Party” in the 19th century, he apparently started a long-term trend. Ronald Reagan, after all, was an “amiable dunce,” and Vice President Dan Quayle told a student in a spelling bee that potato had an “e” at the end of it.  Numerous commentators questioned George W. Bush’s intellectual capacity, and Sarah Palin has long been criticized as a dim bulb.  And Canadian Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper has said that he enjoys “twerking” but only does it with close friends and “every now and then with President Obama.”

While the US zoos close, the Congressional zoo remains open.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper has once again shuttered Parliament, proroguing the Commons until mid-October in a move that ensures he won’t face opposition Bruce Stantonquestions on the Senate expenses scandal for an extra month. But of all the Canadian politicians you may have the opportunity to reach out to, there are few more exasperatingly devoid of the facts on horse slaughter than MP Bruce Stanton of Simcoe North, Ontario.  MP Stanton will delete any messages and block you from his FB page if you are not a constituent – no matter what you write.  As a result of posting horse slaughter info on his page, I am now blocked.  I can understand that he won’t have time to address non-constituents, but to BLOCK Canadians from his page is really outlandish behaviour for a politician. However, Facebook isn’t “all that” and we can still reach MP Stanton (and see what he’s up to) via OpenParliament.ca  You can also track MP statements in House debates via this site.  He doesn’t appear to care much for the facts of horse slaughter, but he’s quite enamoured with men’s curling and speaks very eloquently about Valentine’s Day.

As you can read from his communications with horse advocate and constituent Ann Marie, he adamantly insists that “horsemeat producers raise horses for the sole purpose of human consumption.”  And he refuses to respond to her requests for information on these direct-to-market meat horses.  Not only that, Stanton also insists that horsemeat is the “third largest exported meat in Canada,” and provides about $2 billion to the Canadian economy every year.  This is very odd indeed, especially since Dr. Ian Alexander of the CFIA wrote to me in August of this year and specifically indicated that the horsemeat market in Canada is worth $36 million.  Even if you mistakenly assumed that all slaughtered Canadian horses were “farmed,”  you still couldn’t stretch the truth far enough to turn a $36 million dollar industry into a $2 BILLION industry.  Looks to me like MP Stanton has stretched the truth until it’s elliptical in order to further the anti-animal Conservative party agenda.  It’s time to throw MP Stanton under the bus for making these claims.

bruce letter

There appear to be various ways to evaluate Stanton’s statement that horsmeat is Canada’s third largest meat export, but none of them make any sense when compared to beef and pork exports.  For instance,  do we include animals sent for “finishing” to other countries in those export numbers?  Or do we consider only processed meats as part of those numbers?  In any case,  it’s completely unclear to me how horsemeat ranks as a $2 billion dollar export market,  especially when Canadian beef exports to all countries are estimated at $1.21 billion,  with almost 600,000 head of feeder and fed cattle being exported to the US for finishing and slaughter.  Somehow, MP Stanton expects us to believe that horsemeat exports EXCEED those of BEEF?  Additionally, in 2012, 21.1 million pigs went to market in Canadian plants. In addition, 804,000 head went to processing facilities in the United States and 4.79 million head of feeder hogs went for feeding and finishing on United States farms.  In 2012,  Canada exported in excess of 135 million chicken carcasses and parts, and over 19 million turkey carcasses and parts.  These numbers for other species are of course, not even remotely comparable to the roughly 100,000 horses of both American and Canadian origin slaughtered in Canada each year.  And so we continue to whittle away at MP Stanton’s statistics on meat exports.

NDP MP Alex Atamanenko in front of Calgary Animals' Angels Billboard

NDP MP Alex Atamanenko in front of Calgary Animals’ Angels Billboard

Sadly, Stanton’s opinion is only a symptom of what is wrong with Whip politics.  A Whip is an official in a political party whose primary purpose is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. Whips are a party’s “enforcers,” who typically offer inducements and threaten punishments for party members to ensure that they vote according to the official party policy. A whip’s role is also to ensure that the elected representatives of their party are in attendance when important votes are taken. The usage comes from the hunting term “whipping in”, i.e. preventing hounds from wandering away from the pack.

Votes on Private Members’ bills such as Bill C-322 are supposed to be free votes, thus making “dissent” (or rebellion) impossible since there is nothing to rebel against. The fact that such votes are considered “dissent” only serves to illustrate how pervasive the use of the Whip is in the House of Commons. Simply put, party discipline reigns supreme, and both Conservative and Liberal MPs tow the party line.  So it’s reasonable to assume that MP Stanton’s incorrect statements on horse slaughter and horsemeat exports are probably just an overall symptom of the Conservative party malaise.

We do know that MP Alex Atamanenko will be debating Bill C-322 soon,  once Parliament resumes later this month.  Please join the Facebook campaign to email Canadian City Councillors,  MPPs,  and MP’s.  Ask them for their support, and to put forward a Motion for their cities to support Bill C-322, as was done in Toronto.    And props to Ann Marie for so tenaciously correcting MP Stanton.

“Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to.” ~ Alfred A. Montapert

Please support Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada

Please support Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada

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We’ve Got Mail! Welcome to the MP Hall of Horse Slaughter Shame!

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We've got mail

We’ve got mail

Canadians have the right to expect higher standards of those involved in politics.  We eloquently and verbosely complain to our local MP all the way up to Ottawa.  We complain in English, we complain in French  – we complain on Twitter and on Facebook pages and via email.   If there’s one message I’ve received during the process of mailing horse slaughter info to Canadian politicians, it’s that for every one positive response you receive,  you’ll get five more from politicians who are so clueless that they shouldn’t be allowed to open their mouths without a teleprompter.

MP Bruce Stanton will delete any messages and block you from his FB page if you are not a constituent – no matter what you write.  As a result of posting horse slaughter info on his page,  I am now blocked.  I can understand that he won’t have time to address non-constituents,  but to BLOCK Canadians from his page is really outlandish behaviour for a politician.

The Stupid doesn’t stop there either.  I received a response to an email from Dr. Colin Carrie (yes,  MPs in Canada really do send all their letters on archival paper with the

MP Dr Colin Carrie

MP Dr Colin Carrie

edges lightly toasted).  Don’t let the “Dr.”  title confuse you – he’s not a medical doctor,  he’s a chiropractor who has worked closely with naturopaths and homeopaths to make both of those disciplines more mainstream.  He also introduced a Private Member’s Bill to amend the Food and Drugs Act to de-list vitamins, thus removing many safety provisions.  PM Harper appointed him Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health,   so you’d think he’d recognize the word “toxin” when he saw it in print.  Or perhaps as a promoter of homeopathy,  he thinks that there’s nothing wrong with a little homeopathic dose of phenylbutazone?  I do wish Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq would rein him in – and why is she completely silent on the issue of adulterated horsemeat?.  It’s highly ironic that someone who endeavours to promote “natural medicine” sees no problem with the phenylbutazone contamination of horsemeat,  which was pointed out to him in the letter to which he is responding!

MP Tony Clement

MP Tony Clement

Next up is MP Tony Clement,  president of the Treasury Board and Industry Minister; he also lost out on a race for party leadership to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.   He’s also famous for  championing a memorial to an ally of Chairman Mao – you know,  a brutal dictator.  Tony must be getting some of his dictates directly from Beijing,  because he blew off one of my emails by  trying to assure me that the CFIA had everything under control,  no horses were even offended that they were being slaughtered,  and that all horses were fully withdrawn from the presence of systemic drugs.  When you come to think of it,  doesn’t it seem odd that a food source has to be held on a feedlot to “withdraw” all the drugs from its system before it can be eaten?  And what’s with Tony’s comment about a horse being “eligible” for slaughter?  What horse would choose to be eligible for a one-way trip to Hell?

But next up boys and girls,  is where the organic waste material really hits the fan.  Calgary MP Rob  Anders was first elected in Calgary West as a Reform MP in 1997. He was the only MP in Canada to vote against making Nelson Mandela an honorary citizen of Canada, calling him a “terrorist.”  He then went on to establish himself as a bit of a crank when he signed a card in support of Canadian troops with the handwritten message: “When in doubt, pull the trigger,” (or shoot the captive bolt,  it’s all the same to him)  He’s most famous for falling asleep on camera during a legislative session – a group of MPs were hearing from an organization that helps former soldiers who are homeless.  Anders showed up later, then started text messaging on his phone, then fell asleep. He denied that he fell asleep and suggested that his accusers were “NDP “hacks” who praised Vladimir Putin.  Makes total sense right?  He was kicked off the Veterans Affairs Committee after its president said he was dumbfounded that Anders had  slept through the group’s presentation.

I would like to be charitable and believe that Rob Anders suffers from narcolepsy, a debilitating condition that can interfere with one’s life at any unforeseen moment. I once had a prof who had narcolepsy. But when he woke up he never called his students a bunch of NDP hacks. He’d simply say “sorry about that.” We accepted that.  When I Googled Mr. Anders however, I found a possible reason for his dimwittedness. The poor man was born – appropriately – on April 1, 1972, April Fools’ Day.  Maybe he’s suffering from Harpo-lepsy?  In any case,  I’m sure he’s just as effective awake as he is asleep.  And here’s his  verbatim response to an

MP Rob Anders

MP Rob Anders

email from Animal Alliance,  which is why he’s here in our roll call of short-sighted,  “hard-of-reading” MPs.   Anders has apparently got his nose out-of-joint over Canada’s lack of an abortion law,  or he’s accusing the writer of some form of speciesism,  or he was rudely and prematurely awoken from his nap in the legislature and wasn’t given time to collect his thoughts.  In any case,  it would seem he’s not of an anti-slaughter mindset,  from what we can tell.

But occasionally,  we do hear the odd speck of truth from a Canadian MP.  Twice in recent history,  once by MP Ryan Leef and again by Environment Minister Peter Kent,  PM Stephen Harper has been introduced as the “Prime Minister of Cannibal.”  What’s that old saying about “First time it’s funny, the second time it must be true…”?  The Conservative Party of Cannibals … as a nickname it kind of fits.

Skeeter for Prime Minister!

Skeeter for Prime Minister!