Politics·CBC Forum

Here's what you think about a sugar tax

A new Senate report is calling for a tax on sugary drinks, a ban on food and drink ads for children and government subsidies for healthy food, among other recommendations. What should the government's role be in fighting obesity? You weighed in on the CBC Forum.

New Senate report calls for tax on sugary drinks, ban on food and drink ads for kids

The number of obese children in Canada has tripled since 1980, while the number of obese adults has doubled. (David Gray/Reuters)

A new Senate report is calling for a tax on sugary drinks, a ban on food and drink ads for children and government subsidies for healthy food, among other recommendations.

But that has drawn the ire of critics including the food industry, who say the government has no right imposing on our diet choices.

The number of obese children across Canada has tripled since 1980, while the number of obese adults has doubled.

We asked what you thought: Do we need a sugar tax? What should the government's role be in fighting obesity? You weighed in via CBC Forum, our experiment to encourage a different kind of discussion on our website. Here are some of the best comments.

Please note that user names are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style. Click on the user name to see the comment in the blog format.

Many think Ottawa shouldn't have a say in our diets.

There was a lot of griping about taxes.

  • "No, we need busybodies, academics and bureaucrats to butt the hell out of ordinary Canadians' lives. You weren't invited. And, let's face it, it's not about curbing obesity." — TheWarDoctor
  • "A tax on sugar or anything whose abuse may contribute to obesity is exactly backward. We do not tax Ford because a person speeds. We tax (fine) the driver. In like manner we need to tax (fine) the obese person for being obese; for having abused food. People need to take ownership of their own issues, and food abuse, not food availability, is the issue." — Ken
  • "Why do we have to tax everything that is bad? People need to take responsibility for their own actions." — ShadowWelch
  • "People need to recognize that excess sugar intake is a risk factor, like smoking, not exercising, being excessively sedentary. Choose your vice, but don't expect the public to bail you out when you find out the bad news." — rush5154​
A Senate report calls for a tax on sugary drinks in an attempt to reduce their consumption. (Sam Hodgson/Reuters)

But some were receptive to the idea.

  • "We already have taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, which are not required for a healthy diet. We should tax sugar, trans fats, fast food, anything considered to have extreme amounts of unhealthy substances, and use the revenue to subsidize healthy food choices, such as fruits and vegetables, which are becoming more expensive." — Reality check
  • "I'm for a tax. It will help bring the price of cheap sugary processed foods closer to healthy foods. Plus, I'm sick of paying for other people's poor choices, which leads to increased costs to our health-care system. They should fund their own bad choices." — JT
  • "As someone who mass consumed soda and chips at a time I can say without hesitation this tax is needed. It's a poison, and an addictive one at that. You can't stop drinking and eating this stuff, the sugar is so addicting that you don't even realize how bad it is for you." — Leon Kello

Some likened it to the fight against tobacco.

  • "We are fighting a losing battle in our society right now. As a teacher I can educate until I'm blue in the face, but as long as pop and junk food is half the price of healthy options it doesn't matter. We need to tackle this huge health issue the same way we did with tobacco." — PE Teacher 

Some pitched ideas about where the potential tax money should go.

  • "If sugar is going to be taxed, then the money from the increase needs to go to fund programs to teach people how to eat healthier, subsidize healthy food for families who can't afford it, bring more physical activity programs into schools, etc. If healthy eating habits and active lifestyles are taught early, then it is more likely to stick." — MileyMoo

You can read the full CBC Forum live blog discussion on obesity below.

Can't see the forum? Click here.