Jan 14 2014 – Ontario’s simmering political debate over animal welfare: Walkom
Analysis: Will Changes to Ontario’s animal welfare rules make a difference? article by Lian Casey full article Oct 25 2013
Klees, a longtime critic of the OSPCA, called Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur’s announcement “smoke and mirrors” and listed a series of issues he says must be dealt with:
1 The organization operates in secret with the public not aware of how money is spent or what goes to salaries. “Their books should be thrown wide open and posted on their website,” said Klees.
2 Inspection and investigation results, as well as the training and expertise of agents, should be made public.
3 The ultimate power should lie with the government, not the OSPCA. That would allow Ontario to separate the OSPCA’s investigative arm, often criticized for trampling on citizens’ rights, from shelter responsibilities.
Klees said he’s tired of hearing Meilleur say she has no power over the OSPCA. “Then give yourself that power,” he said.
|Is history repeating itself? 2012 OSPCA keeps staff salaries secret while seeking cash infusion from Queen’s Park Article by Kevin Donovan of the Toronto Star
…”Tory MPP Frank Klees, who has pushed for more disclosure from agencies like ORNGE, said the animal protection agency should not be hiding any of its plans related to public dollars.” See full article September 4, 2012
Former Newmarket OSPCA employees claim animals being needlessly euthanizedShauna Hunt of CityTV reports see video August 30, 2012:Animal Treatment at Newmarket OSPCA Questioned !
Link to News Video by Paul Bliss at CTV August 30, 2012 ArticleHansard Record of Comments in the Legislature by Frank Klees, MPP Aug 30, 2012
Mr. Frank Klees: On a point of order: Speaker, a matter of important urgency. I ask that you bear with me. I have just had a notice that the Newmarket OSPCA has initiated euthanasia of its entire animal population because of a ringworm outbreak. We have been here before, Speaker. I am going to ask the minister to immediately look into this. We cannot have a repeat of what happened a year and a half ago.
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bas Balkissoon): I would say to the member that that’s not a point of order. You may want to speak to the minister privately.
|ANIMAL WELFARE TASK FORCE REPORT
RELEASED BY MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY SAFETY OCTOBER 2012 !MISSING ! Animal Welfare Task Force August 7, 2012 Press releaseMinister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Statement re
“Animal Welfare Task Force” June 2011The LeSage/Meek Report of the OSPCA Justice Patrick LeSage and Dr. Allan Meek were asked to conduct an independent review of the OSPCA following the OSPCA’s plans to euthanize the entire animal population at its York Region shelter. On November 8, 2010 Newmarket-Aurora MPP met with Justice LeSage and Dr. Meek to share with them a comprehensive file of information related to the questionable management practices of the OSPCA. During this meeting, Mr. Klees expressed his reasoning behind the legislative changes that are necessary to ensure proper oversight of the OSPCA.Highlights from the report: click here Entire report from OSPCA: click hereFrankly Speaking: Report Confirms Provincial Oversight Needed for OSPCA click here
OSPCA Keeping LeSage-Meek Report Under Wraps May 18, 2011
Queen’s Park November 22, 2010
Mr. Frank Klees: To the Minister of Community Safety. How can this government justify blindly supporting the existing structure of the OSPCA and knowing that it is incapable of carrying out its mandated responsibilities? details or watch VIDEO
Mr. Frank Klees: This is a final submission of petitions delivered here by people from across the province who came to observe the debate on the OSPCA resolution this past Thursday. I will read this into the record, but the government has already ignored the thousands of petitions just like this by voting against that resolution.
The petition reads as follows:
“Whereas the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) recently and unilaterally announced that it would euthanize all animals in its care at its Newmarket shelter, citing a ringworm outbreak as justification;
“Whereas the euthanasia plan was stopped in the face of repeated calls for a stay in the Legislature and by the public, but not until 99 animals had been killed;
“Whereas the Premier and Community Safety Minister … refused to act, claiming the provincial government has no jurisdiction over the OSPCA;
“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Parliament of Ontario to immediately implement the resolution tabled at Queen’s Park … June 1, 2010, which reads as follows:
“‘That, in the opinion of this House, the Ontario Legislature call on the government of Ontario to review the powers and authority granted to the OSPCA under the OSPCA Act and to make the necessary legislative changes to bring those powers under the authority of the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services to ensure that there is a clearly defined and effective provincial oversight of all animal shelter services in the province, and to separate the inspection and enforcement powers of the OSPCA from its functions as a charity providing animal shelter services.’”
I’m pleased to affix my signature to this final submission. It’s disappointing that the government Liberal members chose to vote against—
UPDATE November 18, 2010 QUEEN’S PARK
Today the Resolution below was debated in the Ontario Legislature and the final vote by the Members was 17 to 24 against. The Motion was declared LOST!
If you click here you can read Mr. Klees’ remarks and the list of Members and how they voted.
Mr. Frank Klees: The objective of the resolution before us today is to strengthen the ability of the OSPCA to carry out its mandate, to ensure it is adequately resourced, has provincial oversight and can carry out its responsibilities without the inherent conflict of interest which is unavoidable under the existing structure.
The importance of this issue is evident by the number of people who have made the effort to be here today to witness this debate. Joining us in the galleries are supporters of this resolution from across the province. I thank them for making the effort to come here from as far away as Timmins, St. Thomas and London, eastern Ontario and throughout the GTA.
The reasons that people feel strongly about this issue are as varied and distinct as the signatures on the thousands of petitions that were submitted in support of this resolution over the last number of months. What is common, however, are the recurring experiences with the OSPCA that point to the need for more accountability and transparency; proper resourcing and training of its staff, especially those empowered with inspection and enforcement powers; and, most importantly, the need for provincial oversight. click here for the full remarks
|Media No Ringworm outbreak report by Amanda Persico of YRMG June 3 2011No ringworm found at newmarket OSPCA shelter:report by
Megan O’Toole National Post June 3 2011 No review of OSPCA-for now article by Susan Mann ofBetter Farming Nov 22Queen’s Park Webcastvideo of Nov 18 DebateNewmarket bill quashed
by Amanda Persico of the Era Banner
November 19 2010 article
Queen’s Park rules in favour of OSPCA
by Megan O’Toole of the National Post
November 19 2010 article
Ballot Item Number 51 – November 18th 2010 MEDIA ADVISORY
Mr. Klees – That, in the opinion of this House, the Ontario Legislature should call on the Government of Ontario to review the powers and authority granted to the OSPCA under the OSPCA Act and to make the necessary legislative changes to bring those powers under the authority of the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services to ensure that there is a clearly defined and effective provincial oversight of all animal shelter services in the province, and to separate the inspection and enforcement powers of the OSPCA from its functions as a charity providing animal shelter services.
PETITION for PROVINCIAL OVERSIGHT of the OSPCA
Nov 2 2010 Media release from OFAH: Ontario legislature should support OSPCA resolution Click here
Nov 1, 2010 Rein in the OSPCA in The Better Farmer Magazine article By Susan Mann click here
Sept 16, 2010 Minister Refuses to Support Reform of OSPCA
Question to the Minister ( The Hon. James Bradley) Klees I want to know from this minister: Does he believe that the Ontario government—that his ministry—should in fact have oversight of the OSPCA? See here for details
August 15, 2010 Charges dropped against Toronto Humane Society
Crown Attorney Christine McGoey details the reasons why all 43 charges laid by the OSPCA against the THS were dropped. Of particular relevance to the debate on the Resolution before the House is the following quote from the crown’s summary:
“…the Crown is aware that defence counsel for each of the parties charged will be strenuously advancing an abuse of process motion. Such a motion would involve a comprehensive analysis of the motivations of the OSPCA in initiating the investigation and laying the charges, the manner and execution of the search warrant and the arguable conflict of interest inherent in the OSPCA serving as the expert and the investigating authority in the context of being a privately funded organization with policing powers. It is the Crown’s view that these issues would adversely impact our ability to successfully prosecute the allegations before the Court.” for the complete report click here
June 1, 2010 Resolution Calls for Provincial Oversight of OSPCA
May 13, 2010 Mass Euthanasia Stopped!!
May 11, 2010 MPP Calls for Stay of OSPCA Euthanasia Plans
Mass Euthanasia Stopped!
| Resolution Calls for Provincial Oversight of OSPCAAugust 19, 2010 Motion for oversight of OSPCA gets ‘unanimous’ support by the Progressive Conservative caucusarticle by Adrian Morrow Globe and Mail June 1, 2010 (Queen’s Park) Newmarket-Aurora MPP Frank Klees tabled the following resolution in the Ontario Legislature that if adopted, will bring the OSPCA under provincial oversight.“That, in the opinion of this House, the Ontario Legislature call on the Government of Ontario to review the powers and authority granted to the OSPCA under the OSPCA Act and to make the necessary legislative changes to bring those powers under the authority of the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services to ensure that there is a clearly defined and effective provincial oversight of all animal shelter services in the province, and to separate the inspection and enforcement powers of the OSPCA from its functions as a charity providing animal shelter services.” In addition to ensuring provincial oversight, the resolution also calls for the separation of the inspection and enforcement powers of the OSPCA from its functions as a charity providing animal shelter services.
“This resolution calls on the government to make the necessary legislative reforms to enact effective provincial oversight over the OSPCA and to make clear the separation of the inspection and enforcement powers of the OSPCA from its function as an animal shelter charity,” said Klees.
Klees has also launched a “Petition for Provincial Oversight of the OSPCA” that can be found on his website.
May 17, 2010 (Queen’s Park) Newmarket-Aurora MPP Frank Klees today called on the government to take control of the investigation into the OSPCA’s decision to euthanize the entire population of animals at its York Region shelter.
Dwight Duncan, the Acting Premier and MPP for Windsor-Tecumseh, refused, insisting the government has confidence in the OSPCA, and will allow the organization to oversee its own investigation.
“The Board admitted that the OSPCA staff and its so-called experts made serious mistakes that resulted in the unnecessary killing of a third of its shelter population before admitting that its euthanasia plan was unnecessary and wrong,” said Klees. “Now the board is insisting that they should control the investigation into their own mismanagement. That’s unacceptable and will only further erode public confidence in the organization.”
Klees wants the Minister of Public Safety to “take control of the file”, to appoint the investigator who will report back to the Minister, and to have that report tabled with the Legislature.
“Confidence can only be restored when the public is convinced that a truly independent investigation has taken place, is told the truth about what happened in York Region, and is assured that the necessary oversight is in place to ensure this can never happen again.”
ONTARIO HANSARD MAY 17, 2010
Mr. Frank Klees: To the Acting Premier: The events of this week have undermined the public’s confidence in the OSPCA. That confidence will only be restored if the public is convinced that a truly independent investigation has taken place, is told the truth about what happened in York region, and is assured that the necessary oversight is in place to ensure that it can never happen again. That public confidence will not be restored if the OSPCA is allowed to commission and oversee its own investigation.
I’m asking the Acting Premier: Will he agree with me that the only way to restore that public confidence is for the Minister of Community Safety to appoint an independent investigator who will have that report back to him and to this Legislature—
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Acting Premier?
Hon. Dwight Duncan: The members of this House, and indeed all Ontarians, were deeply troubled by the circumstances last week. I believe that the government has followed the legislation carefully. The OSPCA, as I understand it, is commissioning a review of this matter with independent veterinarians and advisers. That process will yield, I suspect, recommendations with respect to how to move forward to avoid these sorts of circumstances again.
We will continue to monitor what’s happening. The independent investigation that’s going on, I believe, is appropriate in the circumstances, to help satisfy the concerns that have been expressed by so many Ontarians.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary?
Mr. Frank Klees: I fail to see why the government continues to let the OSPCA twist in the wind. The board admitted that that organization and its board made serious mistakes. Now the government is allowing that same board to appoint an investigator to investigate itself. This does nothing to restore public confidence.
I’m going to ask the minister one more time: Will he and his government do the right thing and take control of this file, appoint the independent investigator, require that that report comes back to the minister, not the board, and to this Legislature so that we can find out what went wrong, who was responsible and ensure this never happens again?
Hon. Dwight Duncan: I remind the member opposite that the OSPCA is an independent organization, as established by legislation that was approved by this House. There have been, over time, a number of changes to the act. Governments have recognized that animal welfare is best left to veterinarians and animal care experts.
I believe the OSPCA has taken the appropriate steps in this case, and that their findings will, hopefully, help avoid the very unfortunate circumstances that all of us witnessed last week and lead to a stronger system of protection of animals in Ontario going forward.
|When will there be an independant investigation of the events leading up to, during and immediately following the ringworm outbreak ?OSPCA August 9 , 2010 announces appointment ofDr. Alan Meek and Justice Patrick LeSage detailsVideos of Klees’ Questions to the Premier
Press play to watch
Press Conference with
Klees calls for legislative changes to ensure regulatory oversight of the OSPCA (speaking notes)
May 18 2010 The tragic circumstances surrounding events at the York Region OSPCA must not be allowed to happen again. Clear, regulatory oversight could have prevented these events.
Newmarket-Aurora MPP Frank Klees is calling on the provincial government to make the necessary legislative changes to ensure provincial oversight of the OSPCA.
Klees was joined by former Ontario Solicitor General David Turnbull, who spoke to the need to eliminate the real and perceived conflict of interest that occurs when the existing provincial policing body (OSPCA) is also a registered charity.
|Mass Euthanasia Stopped!“Thank you so much Mr. Klees and everyone at your office. You have come forward in a time of dire need for these animals and, although made extremely difficult due to views expressed at the Ontario Legislature, you have pulled through for them and been the central figure that has halted this senseless culling (you did all you could to save as many animals as you could in an incredibly short span of time). I would like you to know that all of the protesters truly appreciate your efforts both past and ongoing. Yours Sincerely,
Please view video of Frank Klees, MPP Question today ( May 14, 2010) to the Deputy Premier :
“Will he agree with me that what’s needed is a full investigation to determine how this crisis developed and who was responsible?” said Klees. VIDEO
(Queen’s Park) Newmarket-Aurora MPP Frank Klees confirmed this morning that the OSPCA’s euthanasia plans at the Newmarket shelter has been stopped in its tracks.
The announcement was made this morning by Rob Godfrey, Chair of the Ontario SPCA following a discussion with Klees last night. Godfrey confirmed that all animals will be tested and treated individually.
To date, 99 animals have been euthanized under the original plan. That has now been stopped. 96 animals have now been placed into foster care and will be tested and treated there.
Of the 140 animals left, there are 99 cats 33 dogs and 8 turtles. 15 dogs have now been isolated for treatment at the shelter in separate facilities and will be monitored over the next few weeks. The remaining 23 dogs and 91 cats will be placed in temporary private shelters where they will be treated until they are recovered.
“This is the right thing to do,” said Klees. “It’s just unfortunate that it’s two days late. Now we have to ensure that we get to the bottom of how we got here and ensure this never happens again.”
UPDATE……..May 12, 2010
The Minister of Community Safety has declined to take any action citing that the SPCA is an arms-length agency and he has no jurisdiction.
As recently as 3:15 this afternoon MPP Klees spoke with the minister again urging him to use whatever means are necessary to stop the killing of these animals.
Klees explained to the minister that veteranarians, members of the public, landowners in the vicinity are offering their facilities to accomodate the segregation of animals that can be saved.
Letter to The Hon. Rick Bartolucci, Minister of Community Safety & Correctional Services
Letter to The Hon. Carol Mitchell Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
MPP Calls For Stay of OSPCA Euthanasia Plans
(Queen’s Park) Newmarket-Aurora MPP Frank Klees today called on the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services to direct the York Region Branch of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Newmarket to suspend its plans to euthanize 350 animals under its care.
“Before this drastic step is taken, I want assurances that all other options have been investigated,” said Klees. “This comes as a shock to the community, and we can’t just allow this mass destruction of these animals to take place without absolute assurance that there are no other options available to us.”
Klees has discussed the issue with a number of veterinarians throughout the region and is concerned that this announcement caught them by surprise as well.
“What I find disturbing is that an APB did not go out to area veterinarians for assistance with this crisis before it came to this point,” said Klees. “There are a number of questions that must be answered, starting with “How did things get to this point?”
Klees confirmed that he spoke with the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services today asking for the stay and the investigation.