Battle of the bulge: committee to debate ban on pop sales at city-owned facilities

Battle of the bulge: committee to debate ban on pop sales at city-owned facilities

(Image: Kate Ter Harr) 

Toronto’s Government Management Committee is going to debate whether or not to allow the sales of obesity-abetting pop on city property. The policy was first proposed last year, under the David Miller administration, but we already know how the new mayor feels about the whole thing. Last year, according to The Globe, Rob Ford called the ban “the most ludicrous idea I’ve ever heard. If kids want a pop, they’ll cross the street, go to a plaza and buy a pop.”

In the same paper, Marcus Gee writes:

Expect snorts of outrage and cries of “nanny state” this coming Tuesday when a city council committee considers a proposal to phase out pop and other sugary drinks in vending machines on city property.

Why should city hall be telling little Joshua and Jane what they can drink after hockey practice at a city arena? What makes city councillors think they know better than ordinary people what is good for their health? And so on.

The policy is as timid as possible, considering what we know about obesity rates in 2011. Nobody’s ignorant of obesity in Canada (right?) and nobody’s ignorant of the role that cheap, plentiful sugared drinks play in this issue. Yet according to the proposal, pop would only be completely banned in Toronto government facilities in 2014 after a slow phase-out. Looking at the membership of the Government Management Committee, we’re going to guess that this policy fails four against two, with votes falling along Ford/anti-Ford lines.

Huh. Guess it is possible to be more timid.

Why arguments against a pop ban fall flat [Globe and Mail]