Cross-posted to BlogsCanada.
In a vote Tuesday evening, the House of Commons passed an NDP motion that would ban processed trans fats from food sold in Canada within a year. NDP Leader Jack Layton introduced the motion last Wednesday, prompting a day of debate and Ottawa’s quick announcement of a task force to recommend strategies and healthy alternatives.
The margin of victory on the vote was signficant, 193-73. What’s interesting is that the Yea votes are from across the parties. Despite this being an NDP bill, there’s plenty of Conservative Party support (and I don’t think this is minority government politicking).
I’ve been flumoxed by the nanny state issue for years. I was listening to Cross Coutry Checkup this afternoon (worst theme music for a CBC radio program ever), and they were discussing this issue. One caller paraphrased Trudeau and said that “the government doesn’t have any business in the cupboards of Canadians”. She made a good point. But then I read this sort of science:
In 1997, a New England Journal of Medicine study found eating one gram of trans fats a day for a decade increased the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20 per cent. Since then, there have been a host of other studies warning of the dangers of consuming too much.
Recent research out of Harvard Medical School, for example, has shown high trans fat intake represents a significant risk for developing premature diabetes.
The current strategy on dangerous consumables it to tax them. This seems like a satisfactory middle road, as the extra income presumably offsets the heatlhcare costs incurred because of irresponsible usage. Maybe we should just tax products with trans fats in them? Make a Snickers bar cost three bucks.
I was thinking of these things as I stood in the candy aisle at the 7-11 today. I had a Slurpee in one hand and peanuts in the other. I bought both. I looked around the store, though, and tried to imagine the shelves without products that contained trans fats. They’d be nearly empty.
If the government’s for real on this one, I’d consider investing in some canola oil companies.