News

Shark fin ban overturned

Shark fin soup. -
Shark fin soup.
— image credit:

Richmond's civic politicians will have an easy decision to make on a possible ban of shark fin products if they heed warnings of an Ontario court.

Justice James Spence has ruled the City of Toronto acted above its powers in banning the sale, possession and consumption of shark fins and shark-fin food products. In his Nov. 30 decision, the Ontario Superior Court judge deemed the city's bylaw invalid.

Spence called Toronto's bylaw "highly intrusive" and noted it is reasonable to expect it would have a detrimental effect on restaurant operators—and Chinese culture.

"It will detrimentally affect the ability of members of the Chinese community to participate in what some people in the community regard as a practice that is an important part of their traditional practices as members of the Chinese community."

In dismissing the bylaw, the judge concluded it "lacks a proper municipal purpose."

Several Metro Vancouver cities have already enacted a ban to curb the practice of shark finning, which activists say is cruel and puts species at risk of extinction. But senior staff at Richmond City Hall have been waiting for the Toronto ruling before making a recommendation to council.

The Ontario judge cautioned other cities against passing laws that don't have a "proper municipal purpose."

"The power to deal with municipal issues is a broad power," the court heard. "However, that fact does not mean that an issue is a municipal issue merely because a policy decision taken by city council that an issue is important…"

Hughes Eng, Barbara Chiu, Peter Tam and Jacky Ma, backed by the Fair and Responsible Governance alliance, launched the court challenge—the first challenge in Canada of a shark fin ban.

Canadian cities are not considered major markets for shark fin soup, Judge Spence noted. Ninety-five per cent of shark fins are consumed in China

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Richmond Torch party attracts record crowd
 
Murder victim known to police in Alberta
 
Wind storm knocks out power for thousands on Peninsula
Police hunting for sex assault suspect
 
No jail for Surrey woman who tossed infant
 
Corrigan lashes Metro Vancouver growth plan holdouts
TV series begins shooting Thursday in Agassiz
 
White Rock politicians endorse bigger pay boost
 
Election 2014: Retiring White Rock politician still aims ‘to make a lot of noise’

Community Events, October 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 17 edition online now. Browse the archives.