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No ‘Chip Cops’ For Alberta


April 29, 2008
By Canadian Vending Staff

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EDMONTON (CP) – Alberta Premier Ralph Klein appears to have a chip on his shoulder about junk food and kids. While children should understand the perils of not having a healthy diet, his government won’t limit their access to snacks in schools, Klein said.

EDMONTON (CP) – Alberta Premier Ralph Klein appears to have a chip on his shoulder about junk food and kids.

While children should understand the perils of not having a healthy diet, his government won’t limit their access to snacks in schools, Klein said.

“What are you going to do, have chip cops?” Klein said, noting he believes a province-wide ban would be unenforceable.

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It is up to individual schools and districts to decide whether to allow vending machines that sell soft drinks and snacks on school grounds.

“We don’t force people … and you can’t through legislation or any other means … to not be obese,” Klein said.

“But you can provide education programs warning about the health hazards of obesity and that’s basically what we’re going to do.”

Liberal education critic Jack Flaherty said Klein’s stand is a smokescreen to hide the underlying problem – that underfunded schools are forced to sell snack foods to raise money.

“The schools need this money for other things,” said Flaherty, referring to extra-curricular programs that were long ago cut from provincial funding.

“The government has so underfunded schools that they cannot afford to give up these revenues.”

In the legislature, Education Minister Gene Zwozdesky said he will not ban junk food, but plans to include healthy eating and smart lifestyle choices in the province’s elementary curriculum, starting in September.
“Obesity is a problem … we acknowledge that,” said Zwozdesky.

He said the new curriculum will include lessons on improving diet as well developing healthier habits and active lifestyle. o