Questions are as follows:
1. The NWT is in second last place regarding Animal Protection Laws. Animal abuse and neglect continues throughout the Territory with few charges and even less convictions. How will you promote and work toward better animal rights in the Territory?
Answer: I would like to see the NWT-SPCA and the GNWT work closely toward an Animal Welfare Charter. Other jurisdictions have these and some have eventually enacted them into law. I think the charter approach would be a good start. In Saskatoon they call theirs the Five Freedoms to Animal Welfare. It states that an animal’s primary welfare needs can be met by safeguarding the following five freedoms:
1) Freedom from Hunger and Thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
2) Freedom from Discomfort by providing an appropriate environment, including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
3) Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
4) Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
5) Freedom from Fear and Distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
If re-elected I will commit to bring this priority to my fellow MLA colleagues for inclusion into the 19th Assembly’s Mandate.
2. Northern Communities are continually asking the NWT SPCA for help regarding animal care, supplying pet food and removal of unwanted or nuisance dogs. It is important to the health and safety of their neighbourhoods. The NWT SPCA helps members and community governments by sending pet food as well as removing dogs from their community. The alternative is starvation and shootings as a means of control. Will you support the NWT SPCA and advocate for Annual Core Funding from the GNWT so the organization can continue its many programs and necessary services to assist NWT Communities?
Answer: It’s unfortunate, but it appeared as though I was the only MLA in the 18th Assembly to stand up and take a public position on this issue. I have made a number of Member’s Statements on the floor of the house stating the importance of the NWT-SPCA to all the communities in the NWT. I questioned the Minister of MACA on many occasions as to why we as a government cannot find a way to fund the critical programs and services the NWT-SPCA provides to the territory. Eventually, along with great effort and hard work from the NWT-SPCA and MACA we were able to secure $43K from the NGO Stabilization Fund. Going forward I am fully committed to seeking secure long-term funding for the NWT-SPCA through the NGO Stabilization Fund or by other means.
3. Most Northern Communities have limited access to vet care. It is a major reason for the over population and the suffering of thousands of dogs in the North. Communities continue to ask the NWT SPCA to visit their community with the mobile spay and neuter clinics. Will you support funding for the NWT SPCA to increase the number of animal health and wellness clinics in the NWT communities? What steps will you take to ensure this Government support?
Answer: I have basically answered this in my previous answer, and simply stated, YES! Once support for the NWT-SPCA is outlined in the Mandate then the funds to support that mandate commitment will come forward annually through budget deliberations. As I already have, I will continue to work with my colleagues to keep and maintain funding support for the NWT-SPCA in the annual budget.