What a train wreck.
Back in 2004 Ontario's Premier Dalton McGuinty opened up legislature with a speech regarding his government's promise to bring about, "Real, Positive Change".
He reported that,
"Our government is committed to working together to build a stronger province with a higher quality of life for all",and with regards to health he promised,
"Healthier living - with less obesity, less smoking and more physical activity."In 2007 he opened up legislature remarking that,
"Your government will do more to prevent illness by introducing legislation that would ban trans fats from all school cafeterias, prescribe a healthier menu that conforms to the Canada Food Guide and create an Ontario Fitness Challenge program to fight childhood obesity."So what real, positive change is Dalton going to implement to improve our quality of life and promote healthier living and less obesity in Ontario?
Apparently he's going to give a tax break to fast food.
Last week in a fit of mind-numbing, vote pandering, mollycoddling the Ontario Government promised to exempt restaurant meals costing less than $4 from the looming spectre of the HST meaning that unlike your gym memberships, vitamins, kids' sports registrations, home heating fuel and ancillary health care services, your donuts, French fries, cheeseburgers and Frapuccinos are safe.
So what possible justification could the Liberals have for tax exempting the very foods that ultimately end up costing the province hundreds of millions of dollars in direct and indirect health care costs? According to Dwight Duncan the Minster of Finance it's to,
"save money for virtually all Ontarians on a daily basis",and according to John Wilkinson the Minister of Revenue,
"Millions of Ontarians who buy their morning coffee would benefit from today's announcement".So are the Liberals truly suggesting this is to help Canadians save money?
If in fact Canadians eat enough sub $4 fast food that a 13% tax exemption would have a dramatically positively impact on their annual bottom lines (and not just on their annual bottoms), then the Liberals are truly bending over backwards to fan the flames of our obesity epidemic by making fat, sugary, highly refined nutritional garbage cheaper for Canadians to consume. If it wouldn't truly have an impact then clearly they're just looking for votes.
At the end of the day all this fast food exemption really proves is that Ontario's Liberals certainly don't have your or my health in mind and their money-saving justifications are simply the death rattle of a feckless government gasping frantically as they lipstick up their latest pig.
[BTW - my request for an interview with Minster Duncan was ignored]
[Hat tip to my friend Travis from Obesity Panacea who first alerted me to this intensely stupid plan]