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Clandestine Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus Diabolically Sabotages Animal Cruelty Legislation?

To paraphrase the famous beer commercial, “Those who hate our way of life, hate it a lot” and they will go to any length to see it destroyed.

Recently, the Animal Protection Party set out to do exactly that by attacking the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus. To these snowflakes, it’s not “hunting and fishing to feed your family,” but satisfying our insatiable urge to kill through “cruel blood sports.”

When we last checked, there is no blood in target shooting.

For those who don’t know, the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) is a proud executive member of the Outdoor Caucus Association of Canada (a registered Canadian not-for-profit corporation) and CSSA Executive Director Tony Bernardo is an honourary member of the Parliamentary Outdoors Caucus, one of only two persons to ever receive this honour.

As a principle partner of the Parliamentary Day at the Range, we’ve introduced hundreds of MPs, Senators and parliamentary staffers to the joys of target shooting. Aside from the occasional paper cut, no blood was spilled at any of the six previous Parliamentary Days at the Range and given our commitment to the firearm community’s “culture of safety,” we do not expect any to be spilled at future Parliamentary shooting events either.

Andrew Scheer, the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, described the reality of hunting at a CSSA event in Saskatoon earlier this year. Mr. Scheer related that on his first hunting trip he expressed reluctance at shooting a deer. His friend Todd put his hand on Andrew’s shoulder and explained the reality of a deer’s life in terms so simple even an animal rights activist should be able to comprehend. A deer normally meets its end at the hands of a hungry coyote or wolf pack, where the poor animal is literally torn apart and eaten alive while it suffers horribly.

“Andrew, no deer ever died in palliative care, surrounded by his loved ones asking if he was comfortable. It’s a coyote, it’s disease or starvation, so what you’re about to do is the most humane thing you can do for that deer,” said Todd.

The Animal Protection Party’s attack appears to stem from the defeat of Liberal MP Nathan Erskine-Smith, Bill C-246, the Modernizing Animal Protections Act. The Animal Protection Party blames the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus for that defeat.

The primary thrust of the attack is secrecy, clandestine meetings with, and connections to, the businesses that support hunting, fishing and trapping.

The notion that Canada’s Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus is some super-secret, diabolical and clandestine organization is absurd. In its “briefing paper” the Animal Protection Party of Canada calls the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus a “secret group of MPs and Senators working to sabotage animal cruelty and wildlife protection legislation.”

They opine the reason reforming animal cruelty legislation is so difficult is because of this “secret group of Members of Parliament and Senators, who work in the ‘back rooms’ to sabotage efforts to protect animals.”

The Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus is anything but secret.

The Animal Protection Party “briefing paper” quotes the CSSA’s E-News three times as a source of information about the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus, not comprehending that by quoting our very public newsletter, they’ve completely disproved their primary thesis.

Founded in 2006 by Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz and Liberal MP Larry Bagnell, “The mission of the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus is to entrench in law fishing, hunting, trapping and shooting sports as acceptable, traditional, environmentally–sustainable outdoor heritage activities with a safety credo and a conservation ethic as our highest priority.”

It exists to educate Senators and Members of Parliament on issues pertaining to hunting, fishing, trapping and sport shooting, all Canadian heritage activities.

One example is Conservative MP and Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus member Rick Norlock, who put forward Bill C-501, an Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day. That bill became law and, thanks to Rick Norlock and the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus, the third Saturday of September every year is now “National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day.”

Is this a good thing?

Absolutely not, according to the zealots of the Animal Protection Party of Canada. In their YouTube video “What is the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus?” a soft-spoken but outraged female narrator says:

“They work in the back rooms, promoting cruel blood sports like hunting and fishing, the fur trade and oppose changes to the Criminal Code that would better protect animals from cruelty.”

Cruel blood sports?

They’re not talking about Mad Max and ThunderDome cage matches where “two men enter, one man leaves.” No, they’re attacking your right to feed your family by hunting and fishing. They’re attacking the fur trade, the economic force that brought Canada into existence as a nation.

They use Bob Zimmer’s quote about membership as “proof” of its clandestine nature.

“Membership in the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus is voluntary. There is no membership list and MPs are not required to divulge their membership or attendance. This is by design. Many MPs want to be informed, but they don’t want their participation or attendance used against them politically.”

The Animal Protection Party goes on to complain about how the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus works with industry to achieve its goals of ensuring fishing, hunting, trapping and shooting sports are protected.

“The Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus is not just a clandestine parliamentary caucus. It also has close ties to industry through the Outdoor Caucus Association of Canada whose chair is an executive with Shimano, a major manufacturer of sport fishing equipment.”

They blame Bob Zimmer and the rest of the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus for scuttling Liberal MP Nathan Erskine-Smith’s atrocious private member’s bill, Bill C-246, the Modernizing Animal Protections Act.

“We came together,” Zimmer said, “and defeated Bill C-246, the animal rights bill, where most of the people who voted against it are Liberals. It was a group effort, but that’s the power of education.”
  The Animal Protection Party conveniently ignores the fact Zimmer pointed out, that “most of the people who voted against it are Liberals.”

And that’s the problem with the animal rights movement in general and the Animal Protection Party in particular. They ignore the facts.

They claim Canadians overwhelmingly oppose “sport hunting,” whatever that might be. Every hunter we know hunts for food, not sport. Anglers do the same. That we choose to feed our families with meat and fish untouched by chemicals or human farming practices offends animal rights activists every bit as much as the cattle ranchers and fish farms they also want put out of business.

We take our responsibilities very seriously, which is why the primary focus of many “gun clubs” across this nation is not merely shooting, but habitat conservation and habitat restoration.Hunters and anglers are stewards of the land. And the CSSA is proud to participate in the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus and, as good friends do, we will always defend it against the attacks of charlatans and hypocrites like those of the Animal Protection Party of Canada.


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