Watch the interview now
You know the expression ‘there’s no such thing as a stupid question’? Well I disagree. When preparing for my interview with NDP MP Fin Donnelly, I’m pretty sure asking him, “Did your interest in banning shark fining come from your name?” would be really stupid. Or how about, “Did you swim 35 kilometres across the Georgia Straight to raise awareness about shark fining because of your name?” Equally stupid. And if you don’t know what shark fining is – don’t worry, you’re not stupid – we talked about it. Basically finning is when people catch sharks, remove their fins including the tale, and throw the often live, finless body back into the ocean to slowly die. The fins are made into a tasteless soup eaten predominately by Chinese people. Learning this made me want to ask Fin (as a rule I avoid calling politicians by their first name, but thought I’d break it here for effect) a few question that I thought were pretty smart.
I live in Toronto, just blocks from Chinatown. A few weeks ago, I noticed a group of young white activists posting signs around the neighborhood telling people to stop eating shark fin soup. Fin’s riding of New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody near Vancouver contains a larger number of Chinese-Canadians. So I wanted to know if he was concerned about being a white guy opposed to this Chinese delicacy. But according to Fin, “Chinese-Canadians are leading the way” when it comes to banning shark fining. When he surveyed his constituents – asking the question in both Mandarin and Cantonese - over 75 percent supported banning fins from being imported into Canada. Fin also noted, “The government of China has taken shark fin soup off of their public banquet menu. So even the government of China recognizes this is something they do not want to contribute to.”
With all this support, Fin was hopeful that his private members bill C-380 would pass in its second reading this March. The bill aimed to ban the import of shark fin to Canada and would also enshrine in legislation Canada’s ban on shark fining. But it was defeated. It seems that it is the Canadian government and not Chinese Canadians who are keeping the shark fin business alive in this country. Guess my question about whether he was concerned about upsetting Chinese Canadians was pretty stupid too. For more of my interview with Fin Donnelly watch the live stream on Thursday, May 2nd 2PM ET.