So February is Heart Health Month, and yesterday in a supposed show of support, Canada's Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq released a statement spelling out what Canadians can do to help themselves live a heart-healthy lifestyle. In it she also brags about what the government's doing to help - primarily she points out they're funding basic research and a hodge podge of feel good, eat less, move more initiatives .
But to me that's not really doing anything, though rest assured, it's not as if Leona Aglukkaq's done nothing for heart friendly public policy. She's stifled it.
What am I talking about?
As far as Canadian public health initiatives that might have had a positive impact on heart health, here's her legacy:
Leona Aglukkaq disbanded her own office's Sodium Working Group and ignored their recommendations.
Leona Aglukkaq refused to accept a proposed plan for sodium reduction that had been prepared and approved by federal and provinicial health officials.
Leona Aglukkaq without any publicized actual discussion, and despite strong public support, refused to have her office even consider banning junk food ads that target children.
Leona Aglukkaq rather than actually acting on our Standing Committee on Health's recommendations regarding childhood obesity instead launched a useless portal for "dialogue".
Leona Aglukkaq has thus far refused to enact a regulatory approach to trans-fat despite promises from her own office reporting that it would in fact do so if by June 2009 voluntary efforts were to fail, and also despite her own admission on April 21st, 2010 that fail those efforts most certainly had.
Considering Leona Aglukkaq's track record on heart healthy policy, her call to action to Canadians for Heart Health Month is both an embarrassment and a disgrace, and not coincidental to her inactions up above? "Embarrassment" and "disgrace" are the same two words that leap to mind, when I consider Ms. Aglukkaq's performance to date as Canada's Minister of Health.