Premier Brian Gallant open to idea of taxing pop
Gallant says taxing sugary drinks would necessitate other measures to improve healthy food access
Premier Brian Gallant says the province "could potentially be convinced" to tax pop and other unhealthy, sugary drinks in much the same way as alcohol — an obesity-curbing measure that's already been debated extensively in Quebec and other provinces.
The premier added that many of the people relying on sugary drinks do so because they aren't able to afford other options.
"One thing that I learned firsthand when I was young [is] that if somebody is living in poverty, they don't necessarily have the money to buy food that's good for you," said Gallant, who noted that his parents spent their lives working in grocery stores and fast-food restaurants.
"That's unfortunate, but it's a thing of our society that food that's good for you tends to cost more," said Gallant in a live question-and-answer session on Information Morning Saint John on Tuesday.
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In introducing a pop tax, Gallant said the province would have to ensure it wouldn't incidentally be taxing "the most vulnerable, and those that find themselves in poverty."
"There would have to be a multitude of things that would happen at the time," said Gallant, adding that if the government were to introduce such a measure, it would have to couple it with measures to increase access to healthy food.
Gallant added Saint John organizations including Saint John's Business Community Ant-Poverty Initiative and Living Saint John are working to mobilize people to fight poverty, which would in turn improve access to healthy food in the province.
with files from Information Morning Saint John