It was a typical Toronto political scene; City Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker flies a radio controlled shark balloon around the council chambers; speaker Nunziata jumps up and down, but in the end when it comes to a vote, a ban on shark fin products is passed by an astonishing 38 to 4, over the objections of Mayor Rob Ford and his closest supporters, now down to like three people. Mayor Ford said "I don't think it's in our purview to do that. If other councillors want to do it it's an open vote," as they all are in a system without political parties.
The Chinese community in Toronto is very large and influential, and the Toronto Chinese Business Association took out full page ads protesting the vote, making a surprisingly specious argument:
In a comparable situation, ivory products have been banned in this country for a long time. How come there is no pressure for private and business owners of merchandise or gifts with ivory content such as pianos to surrender these possessions and there is no action against these owners? Moreover, some species of tigers are also endangered. Why are people allowed to display a tiger’s head in their house without fear of punishment? In this sense, why does this by-law single the shark fin out as a forbidden product starting Sept. 1, 2012? Is this focus on the shark fin environmental or emotional?
But the activists at Fin Free Toronto ruled the day.
After a year of Mayor Rob Ford, it is nice to be able to take the paper bag off my head, things are looking up. More in BlogTO