Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Ad-Blocking Bill a Healthy Initiative

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Ad-Blocking Bill a Healthy Initiative

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Ad-blocking bill a healthy initiative

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An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published Dec. 18:

Parents are all too familiar with lobbying from the rear seats of the minivan as their beloved offspring plead for a visit to a favourite fast-food restaurant. It's called "pester power," and it's also employed in savvy marketing techniques aimed at the impressionable minds of children, whose choice of dining establishment can be dictated by the lure of obtaining a chintzy toy replicating characters from Despicable Me or My Little Pony.

To the relief of parents everywhere, the marketing of food and drink aimed at children less than 13 years old could soon be prohibited throughout Canada.

Winnipeg MP Doug Eyolfson sponsored the legislation, which began debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday and was driven by Sen. Nancy Greene Raine's Child Health Protection Act.

While it might seem unusual to see a Liberal MP support legislation by a Conservative senator, the eclipse of political partisanship speaks to the indisputable rightness of the legislation, and also to the fact that Eyolfson and Green Raine both know a thing or two about physical health: Eyolfson has worked as an ER physician, and Green Raine is a former Olympic athlete.

The legislation got second reading in the House, and it appears to have support even from the big office. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has sent a mandate letter to Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, asking her to craft nationwide restrictions on the commercial marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children, similar to restrictions that already exist in Quebec.

Quebec is the only province to prohibit advertising to children under 13 years old. Green Raine's bill initially set the age at 17 but, as Eyolfson sponsors her bill in the House, he is amending the age restriction to 13. …

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