After months of squabbling, divisiveness and nail-bitingly close votes, Council found some consensus yesterday with a couple of items relating to sharks and elephants. The overwhelming margins on both votes prove that, while councillors stand divided on things like whether residents should have libraries to visit or late night buses to ride, they’re pretty damn united when it comes to animal protection.
The vote on banning the sale of shark fin was the bigger story, and the one that attracted more detractors from council’s libertarianish wing. (A wing that includes Rob Ford.) I enjoyed Corey Mintz’s photos and commentary from the vote. I’d also like to highlight the speech given by Mike Del Grande — I’ll try to grab video –, which came as a passionate defence of laws and policies that protect endangered animals and showed a side of the councillor we tend not to see much of these days in Ford-dominated news cycles.
The elephant vote was a long time coming — read this Toronto Life article if you haven’t already–, and it’s heartening that it passed so swiftly. Aside from the obvious good-news-for-elephants angle, the only other story to emerge from the vote is an indication from Councillor Paul Ainslie that he may resign from the Zoo Board, as he feels the board was overruled and blindsided by this decision. No word yet on whether the other members of the board will be able to carry on without all the talent and knowledge Ainslie brings to the table.
Neither vote fits the parameters for inclusion on the City Council Scorecard — they don’t really relate to the mayor’s agenda in any meaningful way, and neither vote was whipped –, but I had enough people ask if I was going to include them that I decided to make a special chart for posterity’s sake. As a bonus, you get to see which councillors stuck it out until 11 p.m. last night to vote on the elephant item.