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Old February 11th, 2005, 12:05 AM
Saradog Saradog is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 141
Results from clause by clause today

Report from a person who attended the clause by clause today
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February 10, 2005 at Queen’s Park.

5 Liberal: David Zimmer & 4 others (all yes men)
2 PC: Joe Tascona & Norm Miller
1 NDP: Peter Kormos

Summary:
I. All of the PC and NDP amendments were voted down by the Liberals. These include

1. All proposals re striking breed specific legislation, including all purebred American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and American Pit Bull Terriers, registered with Canadian Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, United Kennel Club, and American Dog Breeders Association.

The Breed specific clauses remain.

2. All proposals re mandatory spaying and neutering, education in dog training, dog bite prevention strategy, establishing a dog bite registry.

Tascona, Miller and Kormos all made very forceful arguments for these amendments.

II. The Liberal amendments, all of which were voted in, are:

1. changing “a member of a class of dogs” to “a dog” that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially…

Legally, this sets a lower standard (or test) for what constitutes a “pit bull.” There was considerable argument from Tascona & Kormos about this.

2. Adding, for the determination of a “pit bull,” the following clause:

In determining whether a dog is a pit bull within the meaning of this Act, a court may have regard to the breed Standards established for Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, or American Pit Bull Terriers by the Canadian Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club, or the American Dog Breeders Association.

So now they are using purebred definitions to define the so called “pit bull.” Tascona questioned as to why the “pit bull terrier” in the definition of pit bull type dogs was not included in this determination, concluding that it was because there was, in essence, no way to define a “pit bull terrier.”

The word “may” was objected to by both Tascona & Kormos, as “may” is subjective, open to interpretation, and provides no authority for decisions. The big contradiction here was in defining a “pit bull” by purebred standards, and then being unable to define one of the breeds named as a “pit bull type” – a “pit bull terrier”.

Lawyers can go to town on this one.

3. There was lengthy legal discussion around the next Liberal amendment, which was to do with naming “Proceedings – Part IX of the Provincial Offences Act” in Bill 132. It has to do with enforceability, and who will enforce the “offences” and who will determine the “penalties.”

I won’t get into this one right now – the government lawyers were questioned and had the usual blah blah answers.

4. The Liberals approved an amendment re “standard of proof” as follows:

Findings of fact in a proceeding under this section shall be made on the balance of probabilities.

Here we had more legal arguments as to the confusion in the Bill re standards of proof – i.e. “balance of probabilities” being the test in civil litigation, and “beyond reasonable doubt” the test for criminal offences. “Balance of probabilities” is a less onerous standard than “beyond reasonable doubt”. There was much discussion from the opposition about statutes and what test was in what statute, etc etc which I will not get into now. Suffice to say that it opens up yet another legal quagmire.

5. “Onus of proof”

The Liberals added:
If it is alleged in any proceeding under this section that a dog is a pit bull, the onus of proving that the dog is not a pit bull lies on the owner of the dog.

Kormos referred to this as “sucking and blowing.” Tascona emphasized how this could become the legal game of “call your own expert”.

6. The next liberal amendment was reinserting a section of the Bill they had inadvertently left out, called “slovenly” by Kormos. It is the section entitled “Precautions of Dog Owners,” stating that a dog owner has to exercise reasonable precautions to prevent bites, attacks, menaces, etc.

7. Now this one is a dilly. Take Note of this new addition to the Bill, as approved by the Liberals:

19.(1) A document purporting to be signed by a member of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario stating that a dog is a pit bull within the meaning of this Act is receivable in evidence in a prosecution for an offence under this Act at proof, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the dog is a pit bull for the purposes of this Act, without proof of the signature and without proof that the signatory is a member of the College.

Well, this means I could “purport” to be a vet, sign a document saying a fluffypoopoo is a pit bull within the meaning of this act, and they would not have to verify my signature and prove that I am indeed a member of the College.

Tascona & Kormos went to town on this one.

So that is it, in my abbreviated, opinionated version. The bill is actually worse now than it was, in terms of definitions and legal clarity.
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