by Larry Powell
| Robert Sopuck, MP for Bottom-Trawling & Shark-Finning. |
It may be deplorable. But, for the Harper government (and my own MP, Robert Sopuck), not quite deplorable enough.
I'm talking about "shark-finning." Each year, worldwide, an estimated 100 million sharks are caught for their fins, only. The sharks, still alive and bleeding, with their fins cut off, are then dumped back into the ocean, either to die a slow death, or be eaten by other predators.
Shark fins are considered a delicacy. While shark fishing is legal off Canada's coasts, finning was banned here years ago. Still, tonnes of fins obtained elsewhere in this manner, often from endangered species, are imported, yearly. So an NDP MP introduced a private members' bill to help curb the practice by simply banning imports into this country.
Sopuck (CPC - Dauphin/Swan River/Marquette), spoke at length during the Commons debate on the Bill. First, he made it clear how much he respected his colleague who introduced it, and that finning was not only deplorable, but "abhorrent." But then he announced his Party would not be supporting the Bill.
According to Sopuck, it would set "a very bad precedent, is overly broad and could unfairly target sustainable fisheries around the world." China is already taking action, he claimed. And Canada is "already exploring what can be done." Whatever that means.
Then, (despite winning only 39% of the popular vote in the last election, and despite a recent poll, showing 81 percent of Canadians support a ban) the government used its majority to defeat the Bill.
But this kind of behaviour is hardly new for the Harperites. In '06, shortly after they came to power, they distinguished themselves at the United Nations by helping to scuttle a motion to ban bottom-trawling. That's another brutal practise which basically devastates all sea-life in its path; All this in the face of grave predictions from top marine scientists that, if nothing changes, such life could actually disappear from our oceans in less than half-a-century.
I guess we're all supposed to assume that the crisis facing dwindling world fish stocks, and the brutal practices that go with it, would be even worse, were it not for "environmentalists" such as Mr. Sopuck, watching out for all of us.