Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Senate at its best – and worst – in the fight to protect children

Tom Warshawski
Yves Savoie

How Canada's upper house can work across party lines and stop the marketing of junk food to kids

By Tom Warshawski
Childhood Obesity Foundation
and Yves Savoie
Heart & Stroke

The crops grown by Canadian farmers and the livestock they raise are of the highest quality. In many cases, however, when these healthy foods are industrially processed, harmful amounts of salt, sugar and saturated fat are added.
Consumption of excessive quantities of these nutrients of concern are known to contribute to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
Diets high in salt, sugar and saturated fat are the second leading risk for death (after smoking) in Canada and cost the economy more than $26 billion annually.
While deaths from nutrition-related diseases primarily occur in adulthood, the risk associated with unhealthy eating behaviours begins in childhood.
Over 30 per cent of children in Canada are either overweight or obese. This is due primarily to our food environment, which is dominated by highly processed foods. These children have double the rates of high blood pressure, elevated blood lipids and glucose intolerance compared to their healthy-weight peers.
Why are so many children in Canada eating foods that are harming their health?
One reason is marketing. The food and beverage industry spends $1.1 billion on marketing each year. They focus on kids who they know will pester their parents to buy the products they want. A recent study shows that kids ages two to 11 see approximately 25 million food and drink ads a year on their top 10 favourite websites. And 90 per cent of the foods and beverages marketed to them are high in salt, sugar and saturated fat.
Their parents – and nearly every health-oriented organization in Canada – want this fixed. According to a recent poll, 82 per cent of adults in Canada support restricting industry from marketing food and drinks that are high in sugar, sodium and saturated fats to children 12 and under. Additionally, 71 per cent believe the industry has an unfair advantage over parents when it comes to influencing children’s eating and drinking habits.
That brings us to Bill S-228. The Senate of Canada has before it a landmark piece of legislation, Bill S-228, which will restrict marketing these products to children. Bill S-228 is consistent with the Liberal government’s policy platform and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate letters to the minister of Health that outlined the need to introduce “new restrictions on the commercial marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children.”
Bill S-228 is a private member’s bill introduced by retired Conservative senator Nancy Greene Raine. It arose from the Senate’s study and resultant report, Obesity in Canada. Bill S-228 has been amended by the House of Commons to make it more resistant to legal challenge and has been passed back to the Senate for the final vote.
The bill is a perfect example of how a non-partisan Senate can use its plentiful resources to study a problem, propose solutions and then introduce strong legislation that supports the government’s mandate. This is the Senate at its best.
Not surprisingly, Bill S-228 faces fierce opposition from the food industry. Lobbyists have had unfettered access to many senators, who have been persuaded to delay the vote and potentially kill under the rhetoric that they must either send it to committee for more study or amend the wording.
In defiance of the government’s mandate, as well as the House of Commons, which overwhelmingly passed Bill S-228, the bill now appears indefinitely delayed in the Senate. This is the Senate at its worst.
The Senate has the choice of protecting the health of our children by passing Bill S-228 in a timely manner or protecting the interests of the industry food lobby by continuing to delay its passage. If they do the latter, they will be ignoring the wishes of Canadian parents, thwarting the will of the House of Commons and rejecting the advice of health experts.
At the Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition, we sincerely hope senators make the right choice – and soon.
Tom Warshawski, MD, is the chair of the Childhood Obesity Foundation and Yves Savoie is CEO of Heart & Stroke. The Stop Marketing to Kids (Stop M2K) Coalition, founded by Heart & Stroke in collaboration with the Childhood Obesity Foundation, is supported by over 120 Canadian organizations and individuals, including Canadian Cancer Society and Diabetes Canada.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Easter Egg Cookies Recipe

Cookie mix makes cookie baking super simple. A few decorating tricks makes you a pro!

Easter Egg Cookies


1 pouch Betty Crocker* Sugar Cookie Mix
2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (75 mL) butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 tub Betty Crocker* Whipped Fluffy White Frosting
Food colours
Green-coloured sour candy separated into strips
Candy-coated chocolate candies
Small jelly beans
Black and yellow sprinkles
Orange candy slices

  • Heat oven to 375ºF. In medium bowl, stir cookie mix, flour, butter and egg until dough forms.
  • On lightly floured surface, roll dough about 1/8-inch thick. With 3-inch egg-shaped cookie cutter, cut out eggs; place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Frost and decorate. Marbled eggs In small bowl, stir 1/4 cup frosting and 1 to 2 drops favourite food colour until well blended. Frost cookies with contrasting coloured frosting. Pipe three lines coloured frosting onto each egg; using toothpick pull through frosting for marbled appearance. Candy designs Frost cookies. Decorate with candy strips, jelly beans or candy-coated chocolate candies.Easter chicks In small bowl, stir 1 1/4 cups frosting and 2 to 3 drops yellow food colour until well blended. Frost top half of each cookie with yellow frosting and bottom half with white frosting. To decorate, use black sprinkles for eyes, yellow sprinkles for feathers and pieces of orange candy slices for beak and feet.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Bunny Butt Cookies

These cute bunny butt cookies are sure to become a Easter favourite.


1 roll Pillsbury™ refrigerated sugar cookies
1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
1 container Betty Crocker™ Whipped fluffy white frosting
Pink gel food colour, if desired
22 miniature marshmallows
Assorted size candy sprink


  • 1Heat oven to 350°F (180°C). In large bowl, knead cookie dough and flour with hands until well mixed.
  • 2Reshape dough into 9x1 1/2 -inch (23x3 cm) log.
  • 3Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove plastic wrap. Cut cookie dough into 33 slices. Cut 11 slices into 4 equal wedges; shape each wedge into ovals for bunny feet. Place cookie dough slices and bunny feet on ungreased cookie sheet.
  • 4Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
  • 5In medium microwavable bowl, stir frosting and 1 to 3 drops pink food colour until well blended. Microwave uncovered on High 10 to 15 seconds or until soft but not translucent.
  • 6To make bunny butt, frost 1 whole cookie slice and 2 bunny feet with frosting. Place bunny feet on bottom of cookie as shown in photo. Place 1 marshmallow in centre of each cookie for tail. Decorate bunny paws with candy sprinkles. Repeat with remaining cookie slices and bunny feet.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Loblaws: do the right thing, give the taxpayers back our $12 million.

signed the petition:


Why? Because all around the world, billionaires AND corporations donate money. Apple, L'Oreal, Pinault Family, Arnault Family to Notre Dame reconstruction. 

In Canada, billionaires (with less wealth than the Westons) Reisman & Schwartz donated 100 million to U of T and the MacBain family donated $200 million to McGill. 

The shame on Loblaw to ACTUALLY accept tax money is a disgrace to the world at large and an insult to Canadian tax payers.