Fin in the House: Sharks can’t wait for another election, pass S-238

Mr. Fin Donnelly (Port Moody—Coquitlam, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I would like to first thank Senator Mike MacDonald for introducing this legislation and for his passion and hard work in getting it through the Senate.

    I would also like to thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, the member for Oakville North—Burlington, who mentioned Rob Stewart and the legacy, as parliamentarians, that we could leave if we passed this legislation. She is right on the money; that is the case.

     I have worked on introducing this issue, and I introduced legislation in 2012 and 2013 when it went to a vote in a previous administration. It failed by five votes. Since 2013, over half a billion sharks have died. Sharks around the world cannot wait for another election or another parliament for legislation to go through. Many members on both sides of the aisle in this debate have raised excellent facts, presented good information, talked about the endangered sharks and talked about the fact that there are not sustainable shark-fin fisheries around the world. There may be some sustainable shark fisheries, including in Canada, but a sustainable shark-fin fishery does not exist. In fact, organized crime plays a role in driving the shark-fin fishery around the world.

    Canada can take a lead role by passing this legislation. I implore the members of this House to vote in favour, to pass this legislation, to get this to committee and to get it through committee as fast as possible so it has a chance to get back for third reading in this House. Even that is going to be very close, given the timeline that we are up against in mid-June. I appreciate the members who have spoken in support. I appreciate that their passion, like mine, is to get this through the House. We need to act now. Let us vote in favour, let us get it to committee. Let us pass this legislation and leave a legacy for sharks and healthy oceans and do the right thing on the world stage for Canada.