Mississauga Chinese Business Association Criticizes Shark Fin Ban
MISSISSAUGA COUNCIL AGENDA
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26,2011
Below is a submitted letter from the Mississauga Chinese Business Association
in response to the by-law -prohibiting people to possess, sell, offer for sale, trade or
distribute Shark’s Fin within the City of Mississauga.
October 24, 2011
City of Mississau a
300 Civic Centre Drive
Dear City Councilors,
Re: By-law prohibiting people to possess, sell, offer for sale, trade or
distribute Shark’s Fin within the City of Mississauga
Mississauga Chinese Business Association and its members wish to express our
strong disappointment about the passing of the above by-law in such a rush and inconsiderate manner.
Whilst we would like to reiterate that we support environment protection and
condemn the inhumane practice of illegal shark finning, the way the by-law was
passed is undemocratic, biased, unethical and discriminating!
Despite the fact that the City’s Legal Services Department advised that Municipal
Authority does not extend to passing a By-Law to prohibit the consumption and sale
of shark’s fin or shark’s fin food products, it was passed anyway, without
enforcement details. It is abnormal and I do not know whether the proposers did not
want to face the queries and challenges of the public by putting the item under hidden
agenda. Again, the scary part is that Council “unanimously” passed the by-law that
was not on the Meeting Agenda but apparently in Councils “Private” Agenda.
If Council does not respect the advice from the City’s Legal Service Department,
why waste the taxpayer’s money to have this department? If you argued that the
conclusion of the advice was wrong, you are challenging the professionalism and
ability of your legal service department.
The By-Law also quoted “over 70 million sharks are being slaughtered every year for
their fins”. It is misleading both in the number and the facts: Most of the sharks are
caught in the proper and legal way. It is unfair and prejudiced. It misled the public by
using the unproved information from Internet, and giving an impression that all
sharks are illegally finned.
Furthermore, a City By-Law for total ban of sale and consumption is not the solution
to prevent and resolve the problem of illegal shark finning either.
One of the reasons stated on the By-Law was “the consumption of shark’s fin and
shark’s fin derivative products by humans may cause serious health risks, including risks from mercury”.
This reason was unfounded and fabricated. No issue has ever been raised that the consumption of
shark’s fin food products affect the health, safety and well-being of persons, or that there is any
consumer protection issue. If the shark’s fin is alleged to contain high levels of mercury and heavy metals,
then it is no different from the consumption of tobacco and alcohol, which should be left to the choice of the consumers.
The only item in the list of section 10(2) that may relate to the proposed By-Law under
consideration is that of “animals”. The allegation is that shark’s fin food products have been
obtained through cruelty to animals, and thus bring the proposed By-Law within the By-Laws
making powers of a Municipality. But the harvest of animals for use as food consumption per se
cannot be considered as animal cruelty; otherwise the City of Mississauga must ban sale and
consumption of all animal parts in order to be fair. Will you open the topic regarding the cruelty to
seal and geese, for its liver?
Furthermore, the illegal practice of shark finning does not occur within the City of Mississauga.
Any By-Law passed by the City of Mississauga will have absolutely no impact on those
perpetrating these illegal acts. Rather, such a By-Law will only unfairly target those who are
dealing in shark’s fin products legally obtained.
One of reasons for Council to enact such a by-law is to “protect the sharks” as experts predict it
could result in the loss of many shark species within a decade, which again is not proved. However,
banning of shark’s fin consumption does not serve the protection purpose unless consumption of
any part of the shark is banned.
Under this new By-Law, it is clear that only the “Chinese” are targeted as they are the main
consumers for shark’s fin, but not the many local Canadians and Europeans who consumes shark’s
meat, which are sold in most fish markets / supermarkets. We cannot think of a better word than
“discrimination and racism” against Chinese.
In fact, all the imported shark’s fins are under the strict control of Federal Government (please refer
to Bob Dechert’s statement, which is attached for your easy reference). They are legally imported
and traded in Canada. Banning the consumption and possession of a product that is legally
obtainable in Canada is contravening the Charter of Rights, and has no legal standing. Most of the
imported shark’s fins are handled at Pearson Airport, Mississauga. Is City of Mississauga going to
stop the trade right at the port of first entry? Are they treated as people in possession of shark’s fin
and prosecuted?? Which Act should be observed, Federal or Municipal?
A civilized country of law should not have public policy determined by a pressure group like third
world. It jeopardizes the freedom and democracy of Canada.
In closing, we repeat our regret that Council Members have acted without regard to principles:
shark’s fin consumption has been in existence for hundred’s of years, why the rush, when we are
talking about formatting a By-Law? We’d think any By-Law introduction should be carefully
thought out. If Council Members can freely override the Legal Services Department, we are closer
to a dictatorial society!
Please consult the Legal Service Department (if you are still taking their advices) and we reserve
the right to challenge in court after consultation with our legal counsel.
Source: City of Mississauga
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