Saskatchewan

No quick vote on pony protection law

The Saskatchewan NDP says it won't be stampeded into passing a law to protect wild ponies.

The Saskatchewan NDP says it won't be stampeded into passing a law to protect wild ponies.

On Thursday, Saskatchewan Party MLA Tim McMillan introduced a private member's bill designed to protect wild ponies in the Bronson Forest, about 170 kilometres north of Lloydminster.

There are only 37 ponies left, compared with an estimated 125 just four years ago, McMillan said.

The proposed law would make it illegal to "wilfully molest, interfere with, hurt, capture or kill" any of the ponies in the forest.

"If the ponies do become extinct, that would be a shame," McMillan said. "We would have no one to blame but ourselves."

Most private member's bills are introduced by opposition members and few are ever passed.

McMillan asked the NDP to permission to fast-track the bill so it could be passed Thursday. However, New Democrat MLA Judy Junor said that wasn't going to happen, although she agreed the bill has some merit.

"There is a process in this house," Junor told the legislature.

Junor said the ponies live on First Nations land, so before the bill could be passed, the First Nations would have to be consulted. So would police, who would be involved in any enforcement, she said.

Junor said no amount of "bullying" or "heckling" from the Saskatchewan Party would make the Opposition vote before due diligence has been done.

"It would be naive to expect that of a legislature," she said.

The legislature adjourned for the week without passing the bill.

McMillan said that's a shame. The ponies need protection now, but it could be weeks or months before the bill is passed, he said.

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