Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Could being a Fisherman soon be a criminal offence in Ontario? Bill C-246

If you haven't already heard the buzz around Bill C-246 than your are probably not and avid fisherman. Believe me, it didn't take long today for my  social media time-lines to blow up with posts from fellow anglers voicing their concerns with the now already infamous bill C-246

Bill C-246 is the Modernizing Animal Protections Act, and was originally designed to protect animals from vicious and or cruel owners who may be raising them to fight or kill. As it pertains to the fisheries act the bill cites that it's sole purpose is to aid in stopping the act of shark finning.

If we take this bill at face value its objective seems clear and something that most Canadians could easily get behind. But, with that said when reading the bill a tournament angler like myself  quickly noticed how once passed this law could  easily be turned against fisherman.

Section 182.1 of the act lists the offences in which a person could be found to be breaking the law, give them a read in their current wording and let me know if you see any possible issues or concerns for anglers?

(a) causes or, being the owner, permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal; 
Would hooking a fish be considered "causing unnecessary pain and suffering? if you answered yes, that could cost you $10,000 in fines and up to 18 months in jail.

(b) kills an animal or, being the owner, permits an animal to be killed, brutally or viciously, regardless of whether the animal dies immediately

Ever lost a fish in the live well or enjoyed a shore lunch? if you answered yes, that could cost you $10,000  in fines and up to 18 months in jail.

Are we reading too much into this? maybe. Do I believe this Bill will come to pass in a way that is detrimental to the sport of fishing in Ontario? no, but as anglers we need to do our part to ensure our rights are protected. I for one will learn everything I can about Bill C-246 and you should too!

To learn more about Bill C-246 please check out this article from Keep Canada Fishing HERE

To read Bill C-246 in full please click HERE

P.S: Lets not turn this into an Us vs. Them situation, many supporters of this bill are not anti fishing but simply animal lovers looking to protect often neglected wild and domestic animals. An animal cruelty and protection act is needed, but Bill C-246 as written has the potential to do much harm to an important Canadian industry

stepping off my soap box now

Upate: To help us amend Bill C-246 to exclude legal fishing activities please sign this petition on Change.org HERE

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