Mr. Speaker, when I first got to this place, it was a big concern that Canada, as an ocean nation, paid a lot of attention to our fishery but did not pay as much attention to the health of our oceans. I thought it was very important, especially back in 2012, when I read a United Nations report on the state of the world's oceans that said that our top predators, globally, in all oceans, were plummeting, including sharks.
Sharks play a key role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem. There are many threats facing the ocean. A changing climate, which is impacting the oceans at a tremendous rate, is also a big part of the problem.
One of the things we need to do as a nation is play a leadership role. Banning the importation of shark fins is a way Canada can play a stewardship role and send a clear message to other countries that this is the right thing to do. It can encourage other countries, such as our neighbour to the south and the European Union, to also ban the importation of shark fins so that we can see those shark populations come back and flourish and we can have a healthy fishery and healthy oceans. I think Canada wants to see this.
I will say that 81% of Canadians, in a poll done a number of years ago, wanted to see the practice of shark finning banned. There is tremendous support across the country from individuals and organizations that want to see this practice stopped. They want to see shark populations return to a healthy balance in our ecosystem.
Canada has an opportunity. We have to act now. The government needs to act before the summer, before the House rises in June, by fast-tracking this legislation to the fisheries committee so that we can get this legislation passed and enshrined before October 21.