Political Status & the Shark Fin Ban: Timeline

SFFC has received numerous inquiries regarding the political state of Calgary’s Shark Fin By-law.  Here’s a quick recap:

July 2012 – City Council voted 13-2 in favour of drafting the by-law as public demand was significant, as evidenced by the presentation of over 12,000 signatures in support on an ink & paper petition and a public opinion poll confirming 88% of Calgarians were in favor of this by-law.

October 2012 – the draft had passed first reading followed by the rise of a small and extremely vocal opposition.

January 2013 – City Council decided to defer further voting on the second reading and instead choose to establish a Shark Fin Task Force to report back.  This change in mindset came on the heels of an overturned Toronto by-law that used the same wording.

May 2013 – the CPS Committee held a public hearing where the Shark Fin Task Force’s consensus report was heard.  Unfortunately, what was not presented and hidden on the last page of the lengthy report was the recommendations of the two attending Scientists.  They recommended for council to indeed pass the by-law as part of a multi step conservation plan however this step was voted down by a small majority of task force members.  Many members of the public, experts & external political & conservation organizations in attendance spoke to the matter.  In the end committee supported the task force’s formal recommendations which essentially requested more time for analysis.

Later May 2013 – the CPS Committee reported back to council where the end result was a rarely used state for the by-law, ‘sine die’.  A politically brilliant move that essentially filed the by-law up on a shelf with no return date to bring it back into council.  The 88% of Calgarians that favoured this by-law could not be upset as it was not voted down and the tiny yet vocal opposition succeeded in avoiding the passing of the by-law… A non-decision that offended no one with a Calgary municipal election pending.

Fast forward to October 2013 – four previous Council members that supported  a shark-fin by-law have been replaced leaving a whole new dynamic of councilors who are learning to work together.  As a conservation group we must wait to see how this new council evolves before we can try to revive the by-law that sits patiently waiting and gathering dust high up on a shelf.

A further complication is that most Canadian municipalities are choosing to wait and see how Toronto will handle their overturned by-law.  Please pardon the pun; but it seems that Toronto council currently has a bigger ‘Ford’ fish to fry!
In a nutshell ~ we must hurry up and wait.

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