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The Great Canadian Horse Meat Scandal – A Political Affair (Part 2)

by JANE ALLIN

Part 2
A Political Agenda

Getting back to politics, some may ask why the defeat of Bill C-571 has political connotations. Then again every nation has its government that brings with it corruption and conflict of interest with the very people it governs.

Democracy is an antiquated term, at least in the world as we know it. Canada is no different under the leadership of Steven Harper and his merry band of Conservative cronies.

The defeat of Bill C-571 was a blow to Canadian democracy (a majority of Canadians oppose horse slaughter), the American public whose horses continue to suffer at the mercy of Canadian slaughter plants and the nations of people who consume unsafe horse meat products. The only people celebrating are those few at the top who will gain even more profit and control over our politics, economies and lives.

A closer look at the tally of votes paints an incriminating story – a sad story about the lack of morals, the inability of the human race to accept the difference between right and wrong and the pitiful stronghold that power, money and greed has on critical thinking or lack thereof. This is nothing more than a bevy of drones answering to their “Queen Bee” and the distorted reasoning that money prevails against all else – narcissistic individuals clinging to their fleeting moments of prestige and power.

A breakdown of the voting according to political party will leave no doubt about the sinister collusion within the Conservative caucus. [1]

Canadian Horse Slaughter Bill Yeas and Nays Table
(click to enlarge)

Clearly it is a political agenda when only 2 members of the Conservative party voted in favor of the bill – a bill whose premise is based solely on food safety.

Of the 11 NDP nay votes, 7 originated from the province of Quebec where horse meat is less taboo than other provinces in Canada and can be purchased in many grocery stores.

Similarly the 3 nay votes from “other” parties were cast by members of the Bloc Québécois, a federal political party devoted to Quebec’s interests in the House of Commons and the promotion of Quebec sovereignty.

Most notably the leader of the NDP party – Thomas Mulcair – voted against the bill despite the fact that he was in support of the previous Bill C-322 that would see the shuttering of the industry in Canada.

Needless to say countless NDP supporters and others were angered and saddened by this about face particularly given that Bill C-571 was introduced by a fellow NDP MP.

It is no coincidence that approximately 99% of the Conservative MP’s voted against Bill C-571 and 100% of the Liberals voted for it. This is a classic example of “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.” [2]

In Canadian politics there are three types of Whips:

• A Single Line Whip is a guide to what the party’s policy would indicate, and notification of when the vote is expected to take place; this is non-binding for attendance or voting.

• A Two Line Whip, sometimes known as double line whip, is an instruction to attend and vote in a particular way, but without sanction; partially binding for voting, attendance required unless prior permission given by the whip.

• A Three Line Whip is a strict instruction to attend and vote in a particular way, breach of which could have serious consequences; binding for both attendance and voting. Non-attendance permission can be given by the whip but a serious reason is needed. [3]

Apart from the Single Line Whip, the others, in practice, ensure that party policies are fulfilled. With a majority government, the PC’s have far more seats and hence more votes than other parties. By ensuring that the majority of party members vote on a particular bill, and adhering to party policy, there is little chance of defeat.

As shown in the table below, the Conservative’s have 53% of the seats in Parliament, cast 56% of the votes and had the highest voter turnout (90%) for Bill C-571.

Canadian Horse Slaughter Bill Percent Votes Table
(click to enlarge)

The Honorable John Duncan, conservative MP for Vancouver Island North (British Columbia), was appointed Minister of State and Chief Government Whip for the PC’s in July 2013. No doubt his instructions on Bill C-571 were above the level of a Single Line Whip. After all it’s no secret that Canada lives under an “elected dictatorship” now that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has a majority government.

After winning his minority government, Harper’s first task was to train all the new ministers to say exactly the same thing, day in and day out, forever – oh yes, and deny anything and everything.  Harper’s control over his ministerial staff was and is undeniably ridged.  Harper’s control didn’t end there, his tightly run media conferences have infuriated journalists from all over.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Harper continued his road to Dictator by filling up virtually every available seat in the Senate with conservative friends, neighbors and who ever smiled the right way, like Pamela Wallen and Mike Duffy, both are ex-CTV News staff, and both of whom (and along with many others) have absolutely no business being Senators in the first place.

With the Senate neatly in his pocket and the majority conservative government in Parliament, Harper has succeeded in putting a stranglehold on the entire democratic process.

Now Canadians will have to endure whatever laws et al, Harper considers benefits “all Canadians” – which in reality – don’t benefit ‘all Canadians’ but caters to the conservative core, those hard-nose right-wingers who would ban abortions, gay marriage and have us all saying prayers before classes start.” [4]

A fitting example of how Harper has brainwashed his loyal servants in the House of Commons simply blows my mind:

I listened to an exchange on CPAC today concerning Bill C-23 and was surprised when a member of the Conservative Party of Canada said that he was not sure that voting for Canadians was truly one of their rights guaranteed in the Canadian Constitution, or was merely a privilege accorded to them at the whim of the government.” [5]

Where do these people come from? It is frightening.

This is no doubt the reason for the defeat of Bill C-571. All but two very brave Conservative members – Kyle Seeback (Brampton West ) and John Weston (West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country ) – chose to follow in their autocratic leader’s footsteps like trained seals in a circus. But these are not seals, they are humans. Have they no conscience, no morals, no guiding principles of what is right and wrong?

Or were these two Conservative MP’s decoys to deceive the public into thinking that there was no conspiracy? We will never know. It’s clear that the Liberals were out to encumber the vote. On the other hand perhaps they have some moral substance. Not likely – most wouldn’t give a thought to the previous bill – it’s all political posturing.

MP’s are supposed to be the voice of the people who vote for them. Their duty is to listen to what the public has to say, address issues on multiple platforms at the federal level and respect the democratic rights of their constituency, not the whims of a pseudo-democratically elected despot.

Sadly if what the public wants fails to coincide with party policy, they are expected to step aside rather than break the party line. As far as giving the public a voice, the use of “whips” shows nothing but contempt for the Canadian public.

Quintessentially the vote was cast before the sitting of Bill C-571. There really wasn’t a hope in hell of getting this bill passed, at least not with the current Conservative caucus in power.

More importantly what does this say about those who voted against Bill C-571 – a bill entirely based on food safety? Don’t any of these individuals care about safeguarding food, most of which is exported to other countries? Can’t they understand what Canada is clearly in violation of? Do they lack the intelligence to grasp concepts related to scientific evidence? Do they not care about our reputation from a global perspective?

I’m not sure that the answers to these questions would have any positive connotations. Honesty is no match for politics. These individuals should be ashamed of themselves for not upholding what are considered basic consumer rights regarding food safety.

Sadly the current problem is sponsorship between corporate benefactors and politicians. In other words, the almighty dollar is what drives the engine. And that drive is orchestrated by none other than the Prime Minister who rules the House and appoints his party members to his legislative assembly – not necessarily at the behest of the riding.

Obey or be excluded – a politician loses their soul when they commit to a political party. No longer are their beliefs and values their own. Honesty and principles have been set aside for personal advantage – transitory employees looking to reap the rewards of long-term benefits – hijacking the taxpayer’s pockets at the cost of uncontrolled and entrenched bureaucracy.

Horses in Bouvry's slaughter pen, Fort MacLeod, Alberta, Canada. Claude Bouvry has reportedly lobbied lawmakers directly in both the U.S. and Canada against the passage of legislation banning horse slaughter.
Pictured: Horses in Bouvry’s slaughter pen, Fort MacLeod, Alberta, Canada. Claude Bouvry has reportedly used considerable resources lobbying lawmakers directly in both the U.S. and Canada against the passage of legislation banning horse slaughter.

Moreover, what about the horses?

We don’t slaughter our other companion animals and ship their meat across the pond. Horses are not raised for food in North America or most other places around the globe for that matter. Have none of these individuals ever owned a pet, a companion that gives unconditional love?

Prior to the vote, numerous horse advocates in Canada participated in a country-wide campaign to reach out to the MPs via both email and social media to educate them about the flawed regulations within the horse slaughter industry.

Few replies were received, most of which were form letters drafted to thwart the masses. Some were blatantly nasty and ill-informed. Take for example these spiteful comments from David Wilks Conservative MP for Kootenay- Columbia (B.C.).

    @DavidJohnWilks Please do the right thing and Vote for Bill C-571!

    @Cricket1963 and kill thousands of jobs in Canada, not likely

    @DavidJohnWilks So tell me what are your priority’s, do you protect a few jobs or do you care about #GlobalFoodSafety? Unbelievable, shocking

    @dlt57 European countries import our horse meat. Tell them horse meat is no good!

No public servant should show this kind of disrespect. It is unprofessional and demonstrates ignorance.

Sadly when people are in positions of power they fail to recognize others’ perspectives and become fixated in a single-minded way on the pursuit of their own goals, sometimes with unsavory actions such as this. Caught inside their insular political world, deafness ensues, commonsense flies out the window and pragmatism is non-existent.

Should we forgive these people? At times forgiveness is a difficult question, particularly when the action is under circumstances of willful surrender despite the knowledge that the decision is unethical. Make no mistake that when 142 out of a total of 144 Conservatives vote against what are clearly food safety violations the underlying objective is survival.

But does that make it right? No, it doesn’t. Then again we are talking about human instinct and safety in numbers to justify a wrong. Not to mention all those lucrative salaries and bloated pensions after serving a minimum of six years – some even qualifying before they are 30-years old – all heavily funded by the Canadian taxpayers.

What about the blatant denial from the CFIA and all those involved in this shameful affair?

No, these actions should not be forgiven – they are both dishonest and reprehensible.

Take Action

Instead, I urge all Canadian advocates to write your MP and either thank them for their support of Bill C-571 or express your concerns regarding their lack of support and ask them politely why they chose to ignore the implications of an unsafe food supply.

A list of the MP emails sorted by the YEA and NAY votes (including MP name, Riding and Party) is downloadable here.* (Many thanks to Charlotte Uhrich and Debby Murtagh for the compilation).

Alternatively a list of the YEA/NAY votes that can be sorted by MP, Party, Province/Riding and Results, with links to MP email addresses, can be found here.

The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.

― H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy

Above all, be a voice for the horses.
__________
[1] http://goo.gl/WtFLKa
[2] http://thoughtundermined.com/2011/10/23/on-toeing-the-party-line-three-line-whips/
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_Whip_(Canada)
[4] http://www.globalfreepress.org/contributors/canada/trevor-hill/3217-the-dictatorship-of-stephen-harper
[5] http://whatisupcanada.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/bill-c-23-fair-elections-act-proves-that-stephen-harpers-majority-status-means-dictatorship-in-canada/
* Bill C-571: Yeas pp 1-19; Nays 20-30 (pdf)

END.

Read Part 1 »

8 thoughts on “The Great Canadian Horse Meat Scandal – A Political Affair (Part 2)”

  1. I’m an American and I wrote to the Canadian Ambassador and the Prime Minister and various Members of Parliament.I did not hear back from the Ambassador, nor the Prime Minister. I did receive a very cordial, informative and positive reply from MP Mark Eyking of Sydney/Victoria. It was probably one of the most concerned communications that I have ever received from a politician.

    MP Eyking supported C-571 and is a strong advocate of keeping the food supply safe and a friend to our horses.

    To me, our horses belong to our continent. Essentially horse slaughter has become a continental inhumane problem and advocates from the U.S., Canada and Mexico need to join forces to eradicate this heinous practice. Food safety depends upon it, but above all the lives of our horses are paramount.

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    1. Agree it is totally about the horses, but Alex had no other option than to create the new bill to help all and every horse here in NA – that was the whole purpose of the bill. It was a last ditch effort to save what we could. The other bill had no supporters and was destined to failure. At least this was an attempt above and beyond what anyone else here, and elsewhere, had in mind. The premise of the food safety aspect will, in the end, be one of the few things that will reach the horse meat eaters – there is no compassion there, as much as all horse advocates and others would like to believe – these people do not look at horses the same way we do. As long as there are horse meat eaters there will be horse slaughter. Any move that will help prevent it is a step forward. People simply do not understand that empathy toward horse slaughter will never get rid of it. Just look at how much empathy is given to the rest of the animals slaughtered for food. And yes, we all argue that horses are companion animals but others see them differently. Do I hate it? Of course, I despise it but don’t knock the food safety aspect and lack of regulation, it’s one of the few things that provide an argument against horse slaughter. Are governments corrupt? Yes – of course. Horse slaughter is a business. And as much as horse slaughter is prohibited in the US it doesn’t stop the US from shipping their unwanted across borders to have the deed done. I applaud the fact that it is not allowed on US soil but there is a long way to go. The greater majority of horses slaughter in Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses are from the US. Just look at the stats. I am appalled that both countries stoop so low but……I’ll leave it at that.

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  2. I just noticed I made a boo-boo in my first table – it should be 141 Conservative NAYs not 142. Doesn’t change the percentage of NAY and YEA votes when rounded to a single decimal place. My apologies.

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  3. We have the identical problem here in America. American democracy has been hijacked by those with money. All one has to do is to sit in the lobby of one of the Congressional buildings in DC to see all of the lobbyists and special interest groups checking their smart phones for appointments with members of Congress or walking out of their offices. It is disgusting and offensive that members of Congress vote on behalf of lobbyists and special interest groups. The tragedy is that many members of Congress want to hear from their constituents but don’t. There is too much apathy! Citizens need to take back their country or these groups will forever dominate our destiny. Canadians and Americans need to vote these people out of office and bring back the true spirit of democracy that our forefathers established for all of us.

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    1. Ann, I have communicated with my Senators and my Representative. My Senatoes have both co-sponsored the S541 bill. My representative, Tom McClintock, has stated he does not think that the people of California thought it through when they banned slaughter in our State, so he has decided he will vote or refuse to vote the way he thinks best. Tehre are two sides to that issue. Those who do not hear from their constituents, and those who will do as they please unless you have money and influence.

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      1. Then you need to send out that information to your friends, family and colleagues and vote him out!

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