Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,

[URBAN NOTE] "Shark fin ban back on Toronto council's plate"

I'd mentioned in June 2011 Toronto's proposed ban on shark fin sales in connection to skepticism among Chinese businesses in Toronto which sold shark fins that the ban was a good idea, or that it would just displace purchases of shark fins to areas outside of the City of Toronto.

(I'm for the ban, by the way. Even before seeing the compelling documentary Sharkwater, the idea of the shark fisheries upset me as profoundly wasteful. Cutting off the apparently tasteless fins and leaving the rest of the animal to slowly drown, on top of the ecological disruption caused by mass fishing, seems wrong.)

The ban passed, and was struck down in court. As presented by the Toronto Sun's Don Peat, the question of whether to revisit it is a simple right versus left dispute.

Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday argued councillors should swallow their pride and drop the ban.

“Let’s not get ourselves into a big legal fight over this matter,” Holyday said. “It’s not really our responsibility as the courts have already decided. I guess the municipal interest hasn’t been shown and I think it would be very difficult to show the municipal interest.”

Holyday added it will be too expensive to continue fighting for a prohibition.

“Heaven knows how far into the court system it would eventually go,” he said. “We don’t have the money to get into this kind of fight and I don’t think it is our business to do it.”

Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, an advocate of the ban, said he wants the city to try and craft a bylaw that will withstand a court challenge.


Kristen Wong-Tam also supports the ban.

Perhaps as interestingly, the municipal ban also tests the powers of the municipality in the Canadian political system, which allots cities only the powers that provinces choose to give it. This has come up in the recent affair of Mayor Ford's donations, as well.
Tags: china, cities, diasporas, environment, oceans, politics, popular culture, restaurants, toronto, urban note
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