Credits: Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency
OTTAWA - Calling it paternalistic and just plain silly, Ottawans were downright sour on the idea of banning sugary pop sales at city facilities after the medical officer of health said he wouldn't rule out that recommendation.
"They'd be treating us like school children," Brett Whittaker said Tuesday as he walked by city hall with a diet pop in hand.
"My 12-year-old would probably choose sugary drinks all the time if he had the choice but adults are typically allowed to make their own choices."
The issue fizzed up after Coca-Cola complained to the city that its products are being unfairly singled out as a leading cause of obesity in a campaign promoting healthy eating.
The company pays the city $135,000 a year in a five-year sponsorship agreement that gives it pouring rights at vending machines, canteens and other dispensing formats.
Dr. Isra Levy said he wouldn't rule out recommending banning sugared soft drinks. He said recommending measures to create "healthy environments" is his job.
"So you can go to a sporting event and you can't buy a Coke?" Steve Boushey asked. "That's just silly.
"What are you going to ban next? Donuts? Are you going to ban all sugary treats? It's infringing on our privacy. They're doing it more and more, telling us what we can't do."
That was Ottawans' refrain, suggesting the city would have a bitter battle if they tried to ban the sweet stuff.
Hodo Goudal won't let her kids drink pop but admits she's "addicted" to the stuff.
"It's not healthy but we know it," she said, sipping a sugary soda with a straw. "I'm a grown woman. I can drink what I want to drink."
Some thought the whole debate is just so much fizz.
Thomas Cromarty isn't worried about what the city does at its own facilities but opposes a sweeping measure like a New York City proposal to ban sugary drinks in single servings of more than 16 ounces.
"It's reasonable as long as they don't impose it on the whole city," he said. "That would be borderline ridiculous."