News from yesterday that’s made the rounds: Councillor Doug Ford made quite the spectacle of himself at the Government Management Committee yesterday at the same time the committee voted against moving toward 100% healthy options in city vending machines:
In a 3-2 decision, the committee decided to maintain the status quo: vending machines should carry 50 per cent healthy choices. The proposal would have limited the available options to milk, fortified soy beverages and 100 percent juice or vegetable drinks.
An impassioned Councillor Doug Ford argued that government has no business dictating what kinds of drinks people can buy.
“This is socialism at its best,” he said, adding he was working at “socialist city hall.”
Ford went on to thank the cola industry for creating jobs and sponsoring city events. The mayor’s outspoken brother concluded by taking a swig from a Coca-Cola bottle.
On Twitter, Astrid Idlewild has done a remarkable job questioning Government Management Chair Paul Ainslie about his position on this issue. In an earlier Toronto Sun story by Sue-Ann Levy, Ainslie called the proposal a ‘pile of crap.’
I’ll be a little softer on this issue than some — I have a major weakness for Diet Coke. I’d be open to compromise solutions beyond the simple elimination of anything that’s not milk or fruit juice. Sad as it sounds, revenue implications are important to consider given where the city’s finances are going.
But let’s be clear about one thing: nothing about this is socialism. No one is talking about blanket bans of these items. This is about whether or not the city should be in the business of selling kids unhealthy things. I think that’s a question that deserves more careful consideration than it apparently got yesterday.
Ainslie is now talking about rescinding the city’s earlier ban on bottled water sales on city property, something that was moved by two of his allies, Councillors Del Grande and Di Giorgio.
Worth noting: Doug Ford also commented that the city should sell cigarettes in vending machines if there’s a demand for it. He also accused the Toronto Star of stalking his mother and being a ‘ruthless’ paper. Yet he’s widely still considered the calmer, more intelligent Ford brother.