Vancouver Animal Rights Campaigns (VARK)

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Peaceful Parks Coalition Speaks Up Against Coyote Killing Contests

Peaceful Parks Coalition

January 2011 Ontario government can break its own laws – Winter 2011

In October 2010, Peaceful Parks discovered the Legislation Act.

http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_06l21_e.htm#BK83

It outlines the proper procedure and requirements when writing new legislation. It came into force in 2006 under the McGuinty government and was last amended in 2009. Hidden deep within its pages in section 71, is a short clause entitled “Crown not bound, exception”.

It reads as follows:

71. No Act or regulation binds Her Majesty or affects Her Majesty’s rights or prerogatives unless it expressly states an intention to do so. 2006, c. 21, Sched. F, s. 71.”  At first reading, the meaning of the clause was difficult to comprehend. It seemed impossible that a government would exempt itself, and all federal agencies, from its own laws.  But that is exactly the purpose of section 71.We made a simple enquiry to Minister of Natural Resources Linda Jeffery asking whether the minister had given authorization to the Hamilton Port Authority to destroy Double-crested Cormorant eggs and nests in Hamilton Harbour.  It is illegal under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act – section 7. (1) to (3) – to destroy nests and eggs of a wild bird, including cormorants, without prior ministerial authorization.  Minister Jeffery confirmed that she issued no such authorization but provided no explanation. Upon further questioning, the minister’s office quoted section 71 of the Legislation Act as the rationale for issuing no authorization to the Hamilton Port Authority.We attempted to confirm our interpretation of section 71 of the ‘Act” with the minister’s office but they provided no comment.  Section 71 was applied to override the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.  It is unknown how section 71 of the Legislation Act is applied in other areas of the law or civil society.

Coyote Killing Contests

Last winter several sport hunting outfitters organized coyote killing contests across Ontario.  These hunting contests were defacto coyote bounties and are illegal under Ontario’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

Section 11 (1) of the Act reads:

11. (1) Except with the authorization of the Minister, a person shall not,

(a) hunt for hire, gain or the expectation of gain;

(b) hire, employ or induce another person to hunt for gain;

(c) trap for hire, gain or the expectation of gain;

(d) hire, employ or induce another person to trap for gain; or

(e) pay or accept a bounty.

Despite the public rhetoric by the McGuinty government defending coyotes and standing firm against a formal coyote bounty, it quietly approved coyote killing contests by choosing not to enforce section 11(1) of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.  No charges were laid against organizers even though the killing contests were well advertised.

The Peaceful Parks now questions whether their decision was made convenient by applying section 71 of the Legislation Act.

Ultimately, it would take a legal challenge to test the strength of section 71 of the Legislation Act.

Special Note:  A letter has been sent to Ontario’s Attorney General asking why section 11 (1) of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act has not been enforced to stop coyote killing contests in Ontario.  The office of the Attorney General has not yet replied.

Peaceful Parks Coalition

P.O. Box 326, Station B

Toronto, Ontario M5T 2W2

www.peacefulparks.org

1.877.785.8636

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