The debate over a shark fin ban in Calgary which is under review got ugly when Calgary Ald. John Mar was called a "banana," a derogatory term for Chinese people seen as "too white."

Mar along with Ald. Brian Pincott were invited to a forum where Calgary's Chinese community had a chance to voice their opinion about a proposed bylaw banning the sale of shark fins in the city, CBC reported.

Mar changed his Twitter profile picture to showing him with a banana for a head and holding one in his hand.

"Who is the banana-head & what have you done with my alderman?" asked Twitter user carfreeyyc.

To which Mar responded:


John Mar
after & I met with the Chinese community regarding sharkfin soup, they gave me a banana. Yellow outside, white inside.

This is not the first time the derogatory term has been used in the shark fin debate.

Last month, Vancouver councillor Kerry Jang was called a "banana" by a Richmond restaurateur.

Shark fin use has become highly controversial because of the way the fins are harvested, with advocates warning overfishing is putting shark species at risk of extinction.

A handful of Canadian cities also have bans in place, while Vancouver and Calgary are both debating their own bylaws on shark fins.

With files from the Canadian Press

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  • Port Moody, B.C.

    This municipality became the <a href="http://can-restaurantnews.com/content/publish/pacific/Port_Moody_bans_shark_fins.shtml">first in B.C. to ban shark fin</a> in May 2012 -- even though its three Chinese restaurants don't serve it.

  • Toronto

    Toronto <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/10/24/shark-fin-ban-toronto_n_1028848.html">banned shark fin</a> in October 2011. Other Ontario cities with a ban include Oakville, London, Pickering, and Brantford.

  • North Vancouver & Maple Ridge, B.C.

    The municipalities passed their <a href="http://bc.ctvnews.ca/two-b-c-cities-ban-shark-fin-products-1.953171">shark fin bans</a> in September 2012.

  • Hawaii

    Hawaii was the first state in the U.S. to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/02/hawaii-bans-shark-fins-fi_n_598231.html">ban possession of shark fin</a>.

  • California

    California <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/07/shark-fin-trade-banned-california_n_1000906.html">banned shark fin</a> in October 2011.

  • Illinois

    Illinois became the first inland state, fifth in the U.S., to pass a comprehensive <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/illinois-shark-fin-ban-fi_n_1643587.html">ban against the trade, sale or distribution of shark fins</a> in July 2012.

  • Oregon, Washington

    Oregon passed a <a href="http://www.care2.com/causes/oregon-passes-law-to-ban-shark-finning.html">shark fin ban</a> in August 2011, while <a href="http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2011/2011-05-15-091.html">Washington state</a> did it in May that same year.

  • Venezuela

    The South American country announced it is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/22/shark-finning-ban-venezuela_n_1618406.html">banning shark finning</a> in its waters and has established a new shark sanctuary in June 2012. Costa Rica has passed a similar<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/10/costa-rica-shark-fin-ban_n_1956062.html"> ban on finning</a> in October 2012.