Satisfying a junk food craving will not be easy for students in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in the near future as both provinces plan to pull unhealthy food choices out of schools.
The measure is just one step towards “putting our kids on a lifelong journey of healthy eating,” said Premier John Hamm on Tuesday in his state of the province address.
Hamm also pledged his Conservative government would implement a provincewide school breakfast program for children in younger grades.
“There is an undeniable link between a student’s academic performance and their overall health and well-being,” he told an audience of 600 business people.
Hamm pledged that the new program, which will build on an existing patchwork system, “`will come without stigma or strings attached.”
While applauding the breakfast program, Nova Scotia NDP Leader Darrell Dexter expressed concern about the proposed junk food ban.
“We’ll have to wait and see how it’s structured,” he said.
A lot of schools depend on revenues from the snacks and vending machines to make up for shortfalls in government funding.
“Now that money is going to be gone, so where’s that going to come from?” said Dexter.
The New Brunswick government is also planning to ban junk foods from schools in an attempt to tackle rising obesity levels in young people.
However, some school principals have also expressed concern because profits from cafeteria sales are used to fund extra-curricular activities.
Meanwhile, Hamm also announced that his Conservative government had reached a tentative three-year deal with universities to limit tuition fee hikes.
In exchange, the schools would get stable funding increases over the lifetime of the agreement.
On average, university tuitions have increased by six per cent a year over the last few years.
Hamm would not say how much of a limit will be placed in future tuition increases – or how much the agreement will cost the province.
Colin Dodds, president of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, would not be pinned down to figures either, but said the tuition cap will be “below six per cent.”
He said the agreement is welcome news that will benefit students.
But Dexter said students in the province pay among the highest fees in the country and a tuition freeze would have been better.
Liberal Danny Graham said he’s upset because students were not consulted about the deal, which clearly has a lot to do with their lives.
© Canadian Press 2004