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MLA Runs Over Cat During Media Interview

June 18th, 2006, 08:05 PM
As some of you know, I have been involved in the Nova Scotia election. (What can I say, I am a political junkie, lol).

At any rate, one of the stories that irked me most during the campaign was the fact that an MLA for the Waverly area (a burb of Halifax), who was reoffering for the job, opted during an interview with the CBC to show himself riding his ATV. There is a reason for this -in NS, this has been an issue epsecially between rural owners of ATV's (all terrain vehicles) who allow their children to drive them (There have been a number of serious accidents, several fatal) and the Children's hospital I am affiliated with. This MLA was a hardliner on the issue - he felt it was just fine to let children drive one of these machines. This has been an ongoing issue!!

At any rate, while he was on his ATV showing off for the CBC, he ran over his kitten!!! The CBC did not show this on the segment and to his credit, he rushed the poor injured animal to the vet (tho whined about the $700 it cost!). What needs to be said is this is a prime example of why cats do not belong outside!!!!!

The kitten has eight lives left but his human lost the election to the NDP candidate. Not sure if the incident played any part in the result or not- given that Hfx is Fortess Halifax for the NDP but I would like to think it did. Anyone who runs over their cat - regardless of political affiliation - does not deserve re-election!

June 18th, 2006, 08:16 PM
It was an accident wasn't it?



June 18th, 2006, 08:28 PM
Yes, it was an accident but my cats are safe in the house where cats should be, not outside where bad things can happen and do!!!!

June 19th, 2006, 02:00 AM
They let children drive them? As in, grade school and middle school children?? That is INSANE!

Poor kitten, I hope he'll be all right. :(


June 19th, 2006, 10:40 AM
We (as in Doctors Nova Scotia and our ER docs) have been lobbying the govt - the law was changed to some extent but still in rural NS, many children drive these things at high speeds. We see the results in our hospital - innocent 12 year olds and their passengers (often younger) either dead or seriously injured!! We thought (and we tend to be politically savvy) that by highlighting the issue, we would get most ppl onside. At least MLA's who can change laws. But since the (previous) govt was elected mostly from rural NS, it was a tough goal!! The attitude of many rural residents were that these things were harmless - they see them as toys. Now there is an age limit (14!!!) and at least they must take a course but still, kids are driving them illegally! They figure they are in the country - whose going to notice? Sometimes even without helmets! It is indeed insane!! This MLA was one of the ones who fought us tooth and nail on this topic - he saw no problem with children driving ATV's.

Here is a col on the subject:

Talk of proposed changes to the Nova Scotia Off-highway Vehicle Act has been leading the news for many months. Heated debates have broken out in the legislature and on the radio rant lines. Statistics have been hurled, then re-arranged and punted back. I haven't seen Nova Scotians so passionate about an issue since the breweries abandoned the stubby.

Unfortunately, the catalyst for this change was a grim one. There has been an alarming rise in the number of deaths and injuries of young ATV riders. The first version of the bill allowed children under age 14 to ride, but with sensible restrictions: mandatory parental supervision and safety training, and a limitation on engine size. But the medical community claimed the proposed changes didn't go far enough. Said Dr. Natalie Yancar, head of trauma at the IWK Children's Hospital in Halifax, "No one under the age of 16 should be operating them anywhere, anytime, any size. Period."

After a single ATV accident in October claimed the lives of two teenage girls, the proposed legislation was toughened, banning all children under the age of 14 from riding ATVs except on a closed course. Still, not everyone is pleased

Environmental concerns have also been raised, and the bill is supposed to address those as well. As a sympathizer of the environment, the damage caused by irresponsible and disrespectful off-road riding is disturbing.

Joe Treen of the Nova Scotia Off-road Riders' Association thinks awareness and education are key. When it comes to off-road riders, Treen says, "Score points when they're young. Get them to develop the proper attitudes toward the environment, safety, and other peoples' property." His circle of riding buddies is self-policing. "If someone pulls a bone-headed stunt, we let them know it."

In Nova Scotia, the current law prohibits riding in environmentally sensitive areas and also prescribes that off-highway vehicles will not be operated "without reasonable consideration for other persons, including passengers, or property". Yet the damage to the wetlands and forests from off-road vehicles is evident. The new legislation is more specific in its definition of environmental areas, but it should also mandate a written test.

Safety concerns are addressed in the bill, forcing all off-road riders, including dirt-bike riders, to take a safety course. Great idea, but a tad difficult as it stands. The estimated 60,000 Nova Scotian off-road riders will require training before the legislation takes effect on April 1, 2006. If the course were available every day including holidays 560 students per day would need to take course to meet the deadline. I suppose it could work if the courses were available now, but they're not.

Maybe the problem is not lack of legislation, or the danger of off-road machines, or, as some claim, media hype. Anecdotal evidence points to something else.

This summer, my husband and I were riding our motorcycles in a rural area in Nova Scotia. We stopped at the local gas bar and two young lads showed up on an ATV. The passenger was wearing an unfastened, ill-fitting helmet from the 1970s that would not pass any current helmet standard. The driver simply didn't bother with one.

The driver challenged us to a race. Although we declined, it did not stop him from pulling a wheelie as he headed down the paved provincial road, nearly bucking his passenger off the back. I would estimate that during our five-minute encounter, he broke one law per minute. No amount of legislation will stop this kind of idiocy.

Premier John Hamm saw enforcement as a problem when he said in October, "I don't believe that the government could achieve prohibition of ATVs by young people. It wouldn't work in rural Nova Scotia." The Premier did, however, give some hope "I believe that the safe use of the vehicles is something that we can achieve."

The law could go further to ensure ATV safety for all. John Doherty has been involved in off-road riding for more than 40 years. Today, he works at ProCycle, a local motorcycle and ATV dealership, and has some common-sense ideas. "If the province is serious about getting these machines registered, it should have to be done at point-of-sale, not left to the individual to schlep to the registry office." He also says machines sold 20 years ago have not been back in the shop since. "I know they have no brakes." But mandatory safety inspections are not part of the law. for kids having access to an adult-sized ATV, he likens them to guns. "Make sure the ignition keys are kept locked up." When it comes to alcohol, he promotes zero tolerance.

In fact, alcohol is the culprit in many vehicle accidents, both on- and off-road, but we have accepted the fact that cars aren't dangerous, their drivers are. And like car drivers, there are some self-centred, bad-mannered off-road riders. However, I also know many riders who use common sense, respect, and care. Just as it should be, they are not seen, nor heard. Nor are they recognized.

Depending on your perspective, the changes to the Nova Scotia legislation represent either a feather or a sledgehammer. Legislating common sense and respect cannot be done, and for some, these ingredients are missing. But if the current controversy over ATVs raises awareness, it may be more successful then any piece of legislative muscle.

and an url:

June 19th, 2006, 10:16 PM

At any rate, while he was on his ATV showing off for the CBC, he ran over his kitten!!! The CBC did not show this on the segment and to his credit, he rushed the poor injured animal to the vet (tho whined about the $700 it cost!). What needs to be said is this is a prime example of why cats do not belong outside!!!!!


I say this is a prime example why politicians should not be allowed to ride ATVs! None of us, human OR animal, is safe. :eek:

(PS I am a former Fall River & Waverly area resident, small world)

June 20th, 2006, 06:52 AM
my Brother has lost two cats to road accidents and I beleive that cats in cities should not be outside however cats in the countryside should be able to roam free and chase mice etc!

I dont get how the kitten was on the floor under the atv???:eek: not a place for a little bundle to be - also why would you take a kitten to a political event?????? Good to here the kitten is ok, although i do wonder why this man bought a kitten - obviously to gain public interest and not for the good of the animal!!