North Island-Powell River’s MP helped clear the way to get Canada’s dolphin and whale captivity ban passed.

Rachel Blaney, along with her colleagues Gord Johns, Randall Garrison, Alistair MacGregor, and Victoria candidate Laurel Collins asked MP Nathan Cullen to give up an hour of debate for his private members’ bill.

The goal was to ensure the final debate and vote could be held before parliament’s summer break. Blaney says Cullen “generously obliged” leading to the bill’s passage on Monday.

The bill bans the capture, breeding, import and export of whales and dolphins, but does allow for rehabilitation and rescue, and grandfathers in animals currently held at facilities such as the Vancouver Aquarium and Marineland in Ontario.

If it hadn’t passed before the end of the session later this month it would have died on the order paper. Blaney says the intervention of herself and her fellow west coast NDP MPs kept that from happening.

She also spoke during the final hour of the debate in support of the bill saying it was a moral issue, not a partisan one.

“It is a bill that is supported by science. We know that whales, porpoises and dolphins in captivity suffer in a way that cannot be justifiable. We know that this bill is a reasonable one. It is a balanced piece of legislation. It grandfathers the process and it gives zoos and aquariums time to phase out this practice.”

Blaney also thanked Cullen for allowing the debate and vote to be held, as well as MP Fin Donnelly, who raised the issue of whales in captivity for years as NDP critic for Fisheries & Oceans leading to the newly passed legislation.