Marineland has launched lawsuits targeting myself, former orca trainer Christine Santos and animal care supervisor Jim Hammond. My latest round of legal bills totaled more than I will earn in this year -- $100,000. Our lawsuits are shining examples of the urgent need for the anti-SLAPP legislation that is Bill 52: Protection of Public Participation Act. It is unbearable to think that this historic piece of legislation -- as it is currently written -- will not apply to the very people who have largely inspired it. Why is the province turning its back on us and leaving us behind? Where is the procedural fairness for those of us who are already proceeding with unfair cases before the courts in Ontario?
Naked and floating in a tiny tank of water next to a "Welcome to SeaWorld" sign, Canadian TV star Laura Vandervoort ("Bitten
Hollywood has wheeled out its finest goods in time for Christmas, but we can't forget some of the gems that premiered earlier in the year. Here, in a very definitive order, are my favourite movies of the year -- from the dizzying suspense of "Gravity" to the ab workout that was "The Heat."
Moby Doll was the first-ever orca whale to be kept in captivity, courtesy of the Vancouver Aquarium. A whaler was hired to kill an orca for use as a model to build a fiberglass replica for a new public display. The orca was harpooned but she didn't die. So the aquarium directed the whaler to tow her -- by the line attached to the harpoon still stuck in that poor animal -- for 80 nautical miles through rough seas to Vancouver docks. There she was placed in a makeshift sea pen until she starved to death a couple of months later.
Remember Tilikum, the orca that was shipped from Victoria's Sealand to Orlando's SeaWorld after the death of a trainer? "Blackfish" shows us that wasn't the last tragedy associated with this killer whale. I watched the whole movie with a big stupid grin on my face, because I know this whale tale all too well, and there it was unfolding beautifully for public consumption on the big screen. Sitting in the theatre, I couldn't help but think of the reaction that "Blackfish" will cause within the industry, the public and the government. And that made me smile. I figure if all goes well, "Blackfish" will sink SeaWorld's captive orca whale program, just like "Free Willy" sank the program at the Vancouver Aquarium.