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City council votes on Shark Fin Ban


Calgarians won’t see a shark fin ban on the municipal bylaw menu any time soon, but the controversial delicacy appears to be sunk in Cowtown.

While council voted 11-3 Monday in favour of a bylaw making the possession, distribution and consumption of shark fins or any of its products illegal in Calgary, the new regulation won’t formally come into force until a public consultation is held prior to a final vote anticipated in January.

Ald. Brian Pincott, who spearheaded the ban, said he’s confident the new law will be in place as originally planned by next July.

The consultation will be held with members of Calgary’s Chinese community as part of an educational component to the yet-to-be-finalized ban.

“They wanted information on how this is going to come to be, what the bylaw is going to look like,” Pincott said.

He said the Chinese community had asked for a six-month delay in implementing the ban while the proposed bylaw stipulates it will allow for eight months.

Ald. Jim Stevenson was among those who didn’t support the bylaw, noting it’s not within the city’s jurisdiction.

“There needs to be a consultation, but regardless I do not in any way support this bylaw,” he said.

“I’ve voted against this before and I’ll continue to vote against it because it’s not something that we should interfere in.”

Ald. John Mar, who is of Chinese origin, said Calgary’s Chinese community will continue to survive without shark fin.

“We will survive, we will continue to share our ideas and our values and we will adapt to the world that we live in and that means supporting all forms of life including sharks,” he said.

Ken Lee, a member of the Chinese community who called for the public consultation, said council’s decision shows democracy at work.

“There are so many facts involved here, that’s why we keep on talking about consultation,” he said.

Lee said imposing a new rule could change how people live, but it won’t necessarily change their feelings and ways of thinking on the issue.

Ingrid Kuenzel, a board member of Shark Fin Free Calgary, said holding off on final approval of the ban is “fine as long as it doesn’t delay implementation.”

“No one wants to hurt anyone’s feelings, but at the end of the day we all want our children and grandchildren to have a planet that’s not a complete disaster,” she said.

Council will look at the bylaw again in January 2013 where they are slated to give it final approval.

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