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The Ban on Shark Fin Importation Act

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Family of Filmmaker Rob Stewart speak

in support of the City Council Motion to Ban Shark Fin in Canada 

 

TORONTO (April 27, 2017) — Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker and MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith were joined by the family of the late, Rob Stewart, to declare their support for a federal ban on importation of shark fins into Canada.

This is the Stewart family's first joint public appearance to discuss Mr. Stewart's conservation work, since his unexpected death.  Alexandra Stewart, his sister attended the press conference with their parents, Brian and Sandy Stewart.

Mr. Rob Stewart was a Canadian photographer, filmmaker and conservationist.  He produced the award-winning 2006 documentary Sharkwater, a film that brought attention to the devastation caused by the shark fin industry and the destruction of ocean ecosystems, and continued the theme in his next film, Revolution.  He died in January 2017, while filming Sharkwater: Extinction, the sequel to Sharkwater

"Rob dedicated his life and work to raising awareness to the decimation of shark populations and was committed to seeing an end to the practice of shark finning.  He would be pleased to see this motion come forward and if he was with us today, he would be at the forefront of ensuring that the federal bill is approved," said Brian Stewart.

Councillor Wong-Tam states, "The conservation efforts to save sharks and promote ocean preservation in Asia is wide-spread, from the ban of shark finning by the Taiwanese government in 2012 to the elimination of shark fin soup from official Chinese-state functions in 2013 to the bans of shark fin cargo in Asia-based airlines, Air China and Cathay Pacific. Asian government and business leaders are responding to the environmental campaigns to save sharks being fished to extinction and so should the leaders in Canada."

This afternoon, Toronto City Council will vote on a motion that calls on the City to support Bill S-238.  The private member's bill was introduced to the Senate by Conservative Senator Michael MacDonald, from Nova Scotia.  Senator Macdonald's bill is the third federal bill introduced in 5 years to attempt to ban the importation of shark fin. 

NDP MP Fin Donnelly attempted to introduce the same bill in 2013 but the bill lost by 5 votes, under the Harper government.  The bill had unanimous support from all NDP and Liberal MPs at the time.

Liberal MP Erskine-Smith's private member bill, BC-246, a wide-ranging bill to modernize animal rights which included the federal importation ban of the shark fin was also defeated in October 2016.

Shark finning is a practice that involves cutting the fins off living sharks and then throwing the animals back into the ocean to die a slow and painful death. Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year to feed the global demand for shark fin soup.

Background:

  • In April 2017, Senator Michael L. MacDonald, introduced Bill S-238, which would prohibit the import of shark fins into Canada. Members of Parliament will vote on whether to advance the bill in the coming months
  • There are now 17 Canadian municipalities that have banned the sale of shark fin products: Abbotsford, Brantford, Coquitlam, Duncan, City of Langley, Township of Langley, London, Maple Ridge, Nanaimo, Newmarket, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Oakville, Pickering, Pitt Meadows, Port Moody, and White Rock.
  • In 2012, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) passed a near-unanimous resolution calling on the federal government to ban shark fin imports.
  • In 2015, Canada imported 144,540 kg of shark fins —an increase of over 36 per cent since 2012, when 106, 109 kg entered our borders. (Source: Statistics Canada)
  • In 2013, in a poll conducted by a telephone survey of 2,006 Canadians for Humane Society International/Canada, Environics, 81% of Canadians supported a shark-fin import ban.
    • Sharks are apex predators whose survival affects all other marine species and entire ocean ecosystems. 
    • Sharks are being fished at the rate of 100,000,000 sharks per year. 10,000 sharks an hour.
    • Shark fin products are primarily served in a soup broth at Chinese banquets, such as weddings. The demand for this dish, coupled with unsustainable fishing methods, have led some shark populations to decline by as much as 99 percent in recent decades.

 

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Media contact:

Melissa Wong 

(416) 873-4372

Melissa.Wong@toronto.ca

 

 

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Statement on Ongoing Hateful Incidents in Toronto

 

I emphatically stand against hatred of any kind in our city. The targeting of any race or religion for persecution is not acceptable in Canada. 

Recent events in Toronto, from rallies calling for the banning of Islam to bomb threats against the Jewish community underline an emboldened movement by extremists to revoke and erode Canadian values, rights, and freedoms. Just as Toronto is strengthened by the shared principles of a diverse population, Council too stands for unity against hate.

I spoke out against these trends only one month ago. Today, I am speaking out again. The 'protests' that organize to marginalize Canadians on our streets and at our civic spaces do so on their own. No special permits have been issued and none will be granted.

All of us face hardship and heartbreak in our lives. When we console ourselves with hate, we turn away from our humanity. The offences of individuals, imagined or real, ascribed to entire nations, races or religions, is not a path to peace. 

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Public invited to debate, collaborate and create as consultation on City of Toronto's Long-Term Financial Plan continues

 

News Release 

March 27, 2017

Public invited to debate, collaborate and create as consultation on City of Toronto's Long-Term Financial Plan continues

The City of Toronto is launching Phase 2 of its public consultation on the renewal of its Long-Term Financial Plan. Information about the consultation, including background reports and engagement opportunities, a public workshop and an upcoming online survey, is available at http://www.investinginTO.ca/. The public is also invited to participate in the conversation on social media, using the hashtag #InvestinginTO.

For the second phase of consultation, the City is inviting members of the public to City Hall for a conversation about how it makes decisions and balances priorities that have a long-term financial impact.

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City of Toronto Upcoming Public Consultations and Meetings

 

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Upcoming consultations and survey on short-term rentals (Airbnb)

 

Municipal Licensing and Standards and City Planning divisions are inviting residents to have their say about short-term rentals at upcoming consultations and/or via an online survey.

 

The term "short-term rental" typically describes rentals that occur over a short period of time (e.g. less than 30 days). Popular online platforms, such as Airbnb, Flipkey, Homeaway, VRBO and Roomorama facilitate bookings and payments for short-term rentals.

 

 

Online survey

 

The survey will be launched on March 28 and will be found at: www.toronto.ca/mlshaveyoursay

 

Public meetings

 

Tuesday, March 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., North York Civic Centre, Council Chambers

 

Wednesday, April 12 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., City Hall, Committee Room 2 (meeting will be livestreamed)

 

A final report, with recommendations is expected at Executive Committee in June.

 

More info: Amy Buitenhuis, Senior Policy and Research Officer, 2-5129, Amy.Buitenhuis@toronto.ca

 

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Upcoming stakeholder and public consultations on Tow Truck Bylaw

 

Municipal Licensing and Standards is undertaking a review of the tow truck industry to address issues raised by the industry, stakeholders and the general public. The review includes an examination of towing and storage rates, charging and billing practices, towing practices and consumer protection related to the industry.

 

A stakeholder workshop for licensed tow truck drivers and operators is being held on Wednesday, March 22, Metro Hall, Rooms 308/309 from 1 to 3 p.m.

 

The public is invited to provide input into this review at a consultation being held on Thursday, March 23, Metro Hall, Rooms 308/309 from 1 to 3 p.m.

 

Staff expect to report to the Licensing and Standards Committee in June on the consultation findings.

 

The video broadcast, presentation and contact information for input will be available at www.toronto.ca/mlshaveyoursay following the meeting.

 

More info: Lorraine Chua, Senior Policy and Research Officer, 8-3594, lorraine.chua@toronto.ca

 

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Coyote Information Session to be held on April 10

 

Toronto residents who live near ravines and forests – typical coyote habitat – can expect an increase in coyote sightings during the winter. Coyotes are active day and night, but prefer to hunt at dusk and dawn.

 

To help to educate residents about coyotes, Animal Services is hosting an information session on Monday, April 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the East York Civic Centre, Council Chambers.

 

Guest speakers from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and Coyote Watch Canada will cover the following topics:

 

  •  Coyote behaviour in the urban environment
  •  Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act
  •  Co-existing with coyotes in Toronto

 

Residents can access more information via toronto.ca/coyote or by calling 416-338-7297.

 

More info: Mary Lou Leiher, Toronto Animal Services, 8-6686, marylou.leiher@toronto.ca

 

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Please be advised the correct date for this event is Friday, March 24, 2017 (previously listed as March 28) from 8:30 am to 10:30 am, at Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Room 308.

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