Dear Member of Parliament: I would like to express my concern and disappointment regarding your recent actions while carrying out your duties as Member of Parliament for Richmond.
I refer to the incident which occurred on Thursday, Oct. 11 at the Jade Restaurant in Richmond where you, while surrounded by an exclusive group of media representatives, made a public display of eating a bowl of shark-fin soup. I find this event alarming and deeply offensive on a number of fronts:
1 - It is widely recognized that the rampant act of "shark-finning" is inhumane, unsustainable and potentially environmentally devastating. By making a public display of consuming the shark-fin soup, you clearly demonstrated your lack of awareness or worse, lack of concern over a major environmental issue and the welfare of sharks in the wild;
2 - You did not act in good faith with respect to representing the constituents of Richmond. As a public servant, you have a duty to provide fair and consistent representation in the best interest of all your constituents. Catering to the harmful and needless desires of a special interest group is not acceptable;
3 - Transparency is critical in positions of public trust. This element was sorely lacking as was evident by the deliberate exclusion of English speaking media representatives;
4 - Your statement that shark fins are purchased and imported legally is at best questionable.
While Canada currently allows the import of legally harvested shark fins (with the exception of fins from endangered species), there is no traceability in place to verify how or from which species imported shark fins are harvested.
5 - Your statement that the banning of shark fin products, including soup, is a federal, not municipal responsibility has also been challenged. The municipalities of Port Moody, North Vancouver and Coquitlam have already imposed a ban on the sale of shark fin products.
Vancouver city council is currently working with Richmond and Burnaby to implement a similar ban in these communities. Due to growing public pressure and inaction of the federal Conservative government, the Union of BC Municipalities is calling on the provincial government to implement a province-wide ban on the possession, sale and distribution of shark fin products.
If as a private citizen you choose to consume this product then that is your prerogative.
However, in your role as a publicly elected federal representative you must be accountable for your actions and must not act solely in your own self-interest.
Ms. Wong, I look forward to an appropriate response to this disturbing show of poor judgement.
Nancy Furness Port Coquitlam