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Civic elections are coming up in my city, and this got me wondering...

If the electorate decided to elect a mayor and council where a majority wanted to use their powers as elected officials to support the movement away from animal-based food products (pro-vegan platform), what would they actually be able to do? I live in British Columbia, Canada.

Obviously the mayor and council wouldn't be able to make an entire city of people go vegan. What powers do they have in terms of taxation, zoning, legislation, and other municipal measures that could make a difference? I am particularly interested in the angle of changing food availability to support action on climate change.

I was originally going to ask on Vegetarianism.SE but this site seems like a better fit.

  • One of the candidates running to be mayor of Toronto is vegan, and here is his platform mikemoreyears.com/animal-welfare (this might help inspire better answers) – Nic Oct 16 '18 at 15:10
8

Municipalities in British Columbia are regulated through the Local Government Act of British Columbia and the Community Charter (and Vancouver has its own thing that applies only to it, but let's avoid that.)

The Fundamental Powers section of the Community Charter might be a good place to start, as this brief fragment might demonstrate:

8.3 A council may, by bylaw, regulate, prohibit and impose requirements in relation to the following:

(i) public health;

(j) protection of the natural environment;

(k) animals;

Extant bylaws that might offer some inspiration include Victoria's Idling Control Bylaw (4 pages) (its preamble: "The purpose of this Bylaw is to protect public health and the environment through regulation...") and also New Westminster's Shark Fin Regulation Bylaw (just 1 page!) which has a similarly-useful preamble and also contains this punishment:

Every person or business entity who contravenes the provisions of this Bylaw commits an offence and is liable, upon summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $10,000.00. A separate offence shall be deemed to be committed upon each day during and in which any contravention of this Bylaw occurs or continues.

  • 2
    This is a nice start, but it would benefit from going just a little further. Are there federal laws that would overrule provincial or local laws related to meat consumption? – divibisan Oct 17 '18 at 15:35
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    I appreciate that you looked up all these relevant sources. However, links should never be the only valuable content of a good answer. You could improve this answer by telling us what these sources say about the subject matter of the question. Maybe you could give us a few examples of what a hypothetical vegan mayor could actually do with these tools to further their vegan agenda? – Philipp Oct 17 '18 at 15:37
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Mike Bloomberg almost banned soda in NYC (well, large containers, at least). In theory, they can ban sale of almost any food, although ordering online interstate in USA can't be banned for constitutional reasons... not sure about Canada.

Plus, they can levy almost astronomical tax (think cigarette taxes in NYC again) to discourage demand.

Plus, they can hire health commissioner that can find some articles about how animal products are unhealthy, and ban their use on health grounds (I mean, entire US anti-MJ policy seems to be based on far flimsier scientific evidence).

  • 3
    Well, that answers the question. So what on earth is MJ. pot.? – gnasher729 Oct 14 '18 at 21:38
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    This answer seems to be based entirely on what an US mayor can do and assuming that the same applies to a Canadian mayor. It might be better to answer this question from a more Canadian perspective. – Philipp Oct 15 '18 at 8:22
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    "NYC almost banned soda" is not a very accurate description of the proposed law. More accurate would be "ban gigantic soda portions being sold in restaurants". For comparison, I think you'll be hard-pressed to find soda portions larger than half a litre in most of Europe at all, simply because there is no demand for it. Soda isn't "banned" there. Regardless what you think of the law, this is not an accurate description. – user11249 Oct 15 '18 at 10:56
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    And the suggestion that a vegan ruler-ship will "use entire city budget on vegan propaganda" instead of "pothole fixing and sanitation" is frankly just ranting and border-line insulting. – user11249 Oct 15 '18 at 10:57
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    @MartinTournoij - you are deliberately misinterpreting my answer, as usual. I wasn't "ranting" - I was suggesting possible practical options that I would consider as a Mayor. Somehow I doubt you'd be very critical if I answered 100% same thing but the Mayor's goals aligned with your political bias. – user4012 Oct 15 '18 at 11:55

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