Soft drink tax makes sense
I like pop. When I was a kid, Dr. Pepper was my absolute favourite. One Christmas Eve, my dad stacked 12 cases of Dr. Pepper right outside my bedroom. My love of Dr. Pepper was so legendary that people didn’t even have to ask me what I wanted to drink. If there was a Dr. Pepper nearby, that’s what I got.
In later years, I gravitated away from Dr. Pepper and toward ginger ale, that airline and sick-witha-stomachache favourite. They say that ginger ale is healthier than other sodas because it contains some medicinal ingredients but that’s a little like saying it’s healthier to swallow one razor blade instead of three because you won’t lose as much blood.
So yeah, I am a sodapop junkie. I know water is better for me but – tell you what – on a super hot day, a nice cold Dr. Pepper hits the spot better than a glass of icy H20. Maybe that’s just my personal preference or maybe I’m addicted to caffeine and sugar and high glucose corn syrup, but the bottom line is that I like pop and, although I have cut back on it since entering middle age, I know that it’s not good for me.
Everyone has got to know that it’s not good for you. Despite the high-powered advertising campaigns put out by Coke and Pepsi, which want us to equate consuming their product with being young and beautiful, the facts are quite evident for anyone who cares to do a modicum of research. A 20-ounce can of Coca Cola has the equivalent of 17 teaspoons of sugar.
Drinking pop affects your kidneys, leads to obesity and will you put you in the fast lane to Diabetes City. Want to feel better? Cut out the pop.
So the Liberals have a pretty fantastic idea in their proposed soda pop tax, which is one of the things they’re considering campaigning on in the upcoming federal election.
The CBC has quoted Ajax Liberal MP Mark Holland, a former senior executive at the Heart and Stroke Foundation, as saying that “we have a problem with sugar sweetened beverages being too readily available at too low a price and it is massively contributing to the obesity epidemic.”
He further cited research from the University of Wisconsin, which “reveals that sugary drink consumption is projected to result in over 63,000 deaths and cost the health care system more than $50 billion over the next 25 years.”
Those are American figures, of course, but it’s not much of a stretch to realize that Canadians are in a similar predicament. Indeed, if we can show that the consumption of pop leads to a more taxed healthcare system, then it makes sense to levy a tax on pop. It makes even more sense if the government could channel that extra tax revenue into the healthcare system or, as the Liberals are proposing, a national nutritious school lunch program.”
We do the same thing with cigarettes, don’t we? We know that smoking is unhealthy, so we ask smokers to pitch a little something extra into the tax pool every time they light up. Let’s do the same with pop.
And yes, this might give rise to black market soda makers.
Yep, our sons and daughters, whilst walking to school, may pass a shady character in an overcoat huddling in the alley. “Hey kid, wanna buy some Fanta?”
But you know what? That’s a risk we should be willing to take.