Toronto city council takes a bite out of shark fin market

A bylaw banning the possession, sale and consumption of shark fin products in Toronto was passed at City Hall on Tuesday.

Following the lead of Brantford, Oakville and Mississauga, Toronto city councillors voted 38 to four in favour of the ban.

Toronto city councillor Glenn De Baeremaekar, who put forth the motion, is hoping other jurisdictions in Canada will follow the lead.

“We have people from every country in the world living here and we’re going to shout through the internet to every city in the world,” he said. “We copied Hazel McCallion and we hope other people will copy us.”

But while most of the councillors at City Hall weighed in on the side of protecting sharks, those opposed argued that the municipal government doesn’t have the right to decide what people eat.

“I don’t think there’s anyone in this room that wouldn’t like to stop the de-finning of the fish, I just don’t think the action taken here does anything at all,” said councillor and deputy mayor Doug Holyday, who joined with mayor Rob Ford in opposing the ban.

Holyday warned the ruling will be challenged and will cost taxpayers in the long run.

Despite the warning, De Baeremaekar was excited about the overwhelming amount of votes in favour of the ban.

“Thirty-eight councillors vote one way and four the other way; I respect their right to vote the way they saw fit. But I also appreciate that the Toronto council was very solid,” he said. “You very seldom see votes like this where you get right wing, left wing and people in the middle all coming together on an issue.

Other than Holyday and mayor Ford, councillors David Shiner and Giorgio Mammoliti voted against the ban.