Only days after the City of Toronto voted not to further restrict the sale of sugary pop through vending machines on city properties (with Doug Ford’s memorable endorsement of free-market obesity-mongering), an MPP has introduced a bill that must reek of what Ford called “socialism at its best”: Trinity-Spadina incumbent Rosario Marchese wants to ban junk food advertising that targets children. According to the Toronto Star:
As many as one in four kids are overweight or obese in Ontario, [Marchese] added.
In his bill, Marchese explained unhealthy foods — dense in calories with few nutrients — would be defined by Health Canada and Ministry of Health guidelines, he told the Star on Wednesday.
“We are saying, ‘How do we protect young people and their health in the short and long term?’” he said.
Quebec banned children’s advertising in 1980.
Of course, this is an opposition bill, so the odds of it ever actually becoming law are somewhat lower than the odds of Marchese losing to his challenger, Sarah Thomson, this fall. But given the early signs that the provincial election campaign will be all about catering to the anxieties of middle-class families, it’s possible that some form of Marchese’s ideas will make it through Queen’s Park. We eagerly await the announcement of the McGuinty government’s bold new plan for a five-year study on the effects of advertising to children, with voluntary recommendations to be put in place by 2020.