It’s federal election time here in Canada. With less than a month left until the vote on May 2, campaigns are steaming ahead. Now is the optimum time to find out how the candidates in your riding feel about animal welfare
It is becoming more and more important to let leaders know how the public feels about preventing animal cruelty. If you ask the average person on the street, I bet she would be very supportive of increased action against puppy mills, for instance. Everyone I know, even the non-pet-owning types, care about the treatment of animals. Most people agree there needs to be more legal protection. It baffles me that this has yet to reach the government level. If so many people care, how come our government has yet to make any real changes?
How come animal welfare issues are ignored and pushed aside, left to individual municipalities with tiny budgets? How come local rescues and shelters are doing the all of the work? How come most government-mandated humane societies rely solely on donations to stay afloat?
The only way to effect real, solid change is to let politicians know what is important to us. Our representatives in parliament will only do something if we make it clear how we feel. No community in this country is free from issues. From the sled dog massacre in British Columbia to BSL in Ontario there is no shortage of topics to engage local politicians on. Here in Nova Scotia, a recent dog attack in Yarmouth has local councils considering tougher dog laws, even to the point of legislating against pit bull-type breeds. The small southern town already has the harshest dog by-law in the province. Unless the people stand up and say something, it could get worse.
In my opinion, the best way to do this is still by writing an old-fashioned letter. Not an email, not a petition, but a physical letter with a stamp on it put in a mailbox. A real on-paper letter can’t be easily deleted or ignored. The more actual letters that pile up on the desk, the better. The letter should also be clear, concise, and articulate. Animal lovers are often dismissed and stereotyped as “crazy cat ladies”. In order to be heard and respected, one must use the language of a politician. Animal welfare isn’t just important to the fringes of society, it’s important for all. It’s time our governments knew that.
The CBC website has an excellent breakdown of the federal candidates. To find who is running in your riding, enter your postal code on this page. There is also a list of all registered political parties on Elections Canada with links to the individual websites. Contact information for local members of parliament can be found here.
Even if you are not Canadian, it is still a good time to question your representatives. Find out their stance on local issues. Push them to make a statement on topics that matter to you. Tell them that the current way of doing things is unacceptable. Make them care enough to take action. If they still refuse, then the next time an election does come around, you will know how to vote.