Marineland - A Bunch of Quitters
Why did all those workers have to quit Marineland to prove their point?
The point they have proven to me is that they are very short-sighted and have not given their careers much consideration.
And here's why.
Today, Phil Demers, a former Walrus-trainer, delivered a petition with 77,000 signatures on it to Dalton McGuinty, urging the province to demand higher standards for animal care at Ontario's zoos & aquariums. After weeks & months of protest, dialogue and much-needed-exposure - this is what it's come down to - a petition urging change.
I say again - could we have not got to this point without those workers quitting their jobs?
I admit that I have learned a lot during all this - that zoos & aquariums are very loosely governed in Ontario, and that the only body which oversees them, C.A.Z.A. (Canadian Association of Zoos & Aquariums), is comprised of & funded by the zoos & aquariums in Canada, just like Marineland.
Example - here are just a few of the people who make up the Board of Directors for C.A.Z.A. (and their day jobs). How can these people be fair & non-partisan?
President - Robert Hale (C.O.O. Toronto Zoo)
Vice President - Denis Prefontaine (Director, Edmonton Valley Zoo)
Secretary - Serge Lussier (African Lion Safari)
So something has to change. A new regulatory body of outsiders needs to be created to govern zoos & aquariums in Ontario to ensure certain, strict minimum standards are met.
But did so many people need to quit their jobs to get us here? Jobs that they will never find again.
Phil Demers quit. He trained Walruses at Marineland for more than 10 years. I don't know how many "Walrus Trainer" want-ads there are in the classifieds these days, but I would guess none.
Brendan Kelly quit. He was the MC of the Stadium Show - where he entertained audiences on a stage he shared with a variety of sea creatures. Unless SeaWorld has a vacancy that high up, I imagine Brendan just kissed his dream job away.
Jim Hammond quit. He was a land-animal supervisor & worked at Marineland for 11 years. Good luck finding similar work Jim.
Glen Owen quit. Angela Bentivegna quit. In all, 8 workers quit Marineland in protest.
At last check, Marineland was still open, churning tourists through the turnstiles - despite 8 valued employees leaving.
I cannot understand how these workers could not have stayed at their jobs and worked with the system and their employer to bring about change, change that I agree is much needed are far overdue. If their employer resisted, maybe the conflict would result in a firing - which is a far better media story than quitting.
They will soon find out is that the media is a fickle friend.
After Thanksgiving when Marineland closes for the season, nobody will care anymore. The newspaper that was so eager to take your story mid-summer will no longer return your phone calls. Your weekend protesters, at one point 500 strong, will dwindle to a couple dozen as interest of this hot-topic issue wanes. And next spring when Marineland opens for yet another season (its 52nd), gone will be the energy and angst shown by the public & media in the summer of 2012.
And those 8 workers will be gone too.
Left to wonder why they ever quit the best job they ever had.
PS. To summerize - I hope change comes form this. I think it was silly for the 8 workers to quit their jobs - they could have spoken out against Marineland while still working there - then see if Mr. Holer chooses to fire them amidst a media storm.