Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pro Marineland Candidate Joyce Morocco Soundly Defeated in Byelection

Ontario Liberal Party candidate Joyce Morocco was thumped in the Niagara Falls byelection on Thursday losing the riding to NDP candidate Wayne Gates and coming in third behind perennial PC candidate Bart Maves.  Newcomer Green Party candidate Clarke Bitter placed fourth.

Several key issues in the Niagara area were the main focal points of the campaign including high unemployment, health care and hydro rates however Marineland still managed to find its way into the conversation on several occasions.

Candidates Bart Maves, Wayne Gates & Clark Bitter stated they supported the employment Marineland creates in the area with Clarke Bitter the only candidate willing to go on record as someone who does not support the captivity of marine mammals. Of the four main candidates in the byelection it was Morocco who held the most baggage on the issue and chose to make further statements endorsing the park.

As Niagara Falls City Councillor she voted twice to hand over public land to Marineland that for many years had been used by members of the public to voice their opposition to the facility.  During the campaign she emphatically stated her support for the park because according to Morocco, her friend was employed there as a veterinarian and she trusted her opinion.  Morocco has never met with any of the 16 former employees who have stated on the record they witnessed abuse and neglect at the park.  During a live radio debate she also incorrectly stated she believed oversight of animal care at Marineland was a federal responsibility.  Morocco's own party leader, current Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne also faced questions from local media about Marineland during a campaign stop in Niagara and the Liberals' abysmal record on various animal protection issues was the target of a radio & print advertising campaign during the election.

Morocco will return to her position on Niagara Falls City Council.

Unofficial results:
Wayne Gates (NDP) 39.4%
Votes: 14526

Bart Maves (PC) 36.8%
Votes: 13564

Joyce Morocco (Liberal) 19.4%
Votes: 7143

Clarke Bitter (Green) 2.7%
Votes: 1006

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