Six-figure Clout

Written by Ian Cummings

The black-haired, middle-aged lady silently sitting at the back of every one of these Animal Care Review Board hearings over the past couple of years made $215,604 last year. That's up from the $193,081 she made at the start of her job as OSPCA CEO in 2007. Kate MacDonald is worth every penny she's paid.

For the first time in 90 years, under her leadership, the OSPCA achieved the best animal rights legislation on the continent, giving her employees the powers to charge people with tartar on their dogs' teeth or for having their dairy cattle tied by their necks in a tie-stall. She won that landmark legislative fight back in 2008 against a number of wealthier farm groups, with far more support staff. The legislation as written by the bureaucrats she influenced and its swift enactment by all legislators before they and farm groups even got around to reading it, was masterful on her part. Jack MacLaren's proposed legislation some months ago, which sought to gut all that she created, didn't even get a vote. The Conservative MPPs themselves, and every farm group but one livestock organization, bolted in fright from the swift campaign she mounted against MacLaren and his legislation.

MacLaren is at most of these hearings and both politely nod and greet each other by name. There will be hell to pay next election, for what she will mount against him, and MacLaren knows it. But he realizes the larger issue involved in facing her power. The two Conservative MPPs, whose constituents are the Robinsons with their cows and the Johnson dogs, stay as far away from these proceedings as possible. One MPP made a cursory stop at the first Johnson hearing in July, then made his exit.

One word from Kate and every animal lover/rightist in your community will come after you at election time with a venom, and these MPPs know it. Kate is by far the most successful in the nation at achieving what she wants through legislation in the livestock sector. Unelected of course and working in the shadows, but if you pay great bucks to that umbrella farm organization to "train" your inspectors at the University of Guelph -normal farming practices there to see -and even hire employees of that organization to drive across the province to do a livestock evaluation, they're less likely to oppose you. Actually, they help her.

She also has the political ability to commit, while doing nothing for someone's demands. All the while the other side is thinking it's accomplished something. The OSPCA/dairy farmer inspection agreement with DFO says what exactly? Written where in legislation? Or in DFO public regulations?

I've seen five vets testify in front of her and all but one was scared silly. You want to legally challenge Kate, you will face the best lawyers in the nation. Money is no object, win at all cost. Because the win is not just a particular case, but making others scared to mount any legal opposition. As a bonus, farmers like the Robinsons have learned they have no support from their organizations. If she wants to, for whatever reason, she'll call the police and six of them surround you for five days as you take notes on the proceedings.

Want to attend as a spectator? The police, like in Smith Falls, will record your license plate so they know who you are. Kate is winning handily against a feeble opposition because, in her soul, she believes in what she is doing.

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