Plastic bag coup makes councillor David Shiner a sudden star
David Shiner says he didn’t come to city council on Wednesday with designs on becoming the next environmental poster boy.
But, having stunned the city by securing enough support to ban retailers from providing plastic shopping bags, the long time North York councillor was fielding calls on Thursday from television stations and defusing tongue in cheek speculation about his motives. Shiner, a Ford ally, was surprised that he was the one to move the motion that makes Toronto the first major city in Canada to ban plastic bags. (Mayor Rob Ford is trying to overturn the decision and had harsh words for his colleague on the radio.)
Emily Alfred, with the Toronto Environmental Alliance, says it goes to show that sometimes “fiscal responsibility and environmental responsibility are not at odds.”
Mr. Shiner, who as a teenager packed groceries in paper bags for a Power grocery store at Eglinton and Bathurst, has made a splash on the environmental front before.
In 1996, he showed up at the Canadian Soft Drink Association behind the wheel of a North York recycling truck full of aluminum cans and glass bottles. The stunt was meant to pressure the beverage industry to pay its share of recycling costs or institute a deposit system on bottles. “They kept telling us how great and how valuable [the cans and bottles] were and I said if they’re that valuable, you take them,” recalled Mr. Shiner, who is still incredulous that Ontario doesn’t have a deposit return system.
“Go out right now to the square and replica watches uk open the recycling box and open the garbage can, and I guarantee you’re going to find beverage containers,” said Mr. Shiner.
His plastic bags efforts have elicited mixed reviews from residents in his Willowdale ward, with lots of emails in support and some people wondering how they will manage. He says that can be solved.
“We had a chance to do something yesterday,” he said. “We had a chance to make a difference in the lives of people in Toronto and provide direction for the rest of the country.”
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