House of Commons Hansard #144 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.


The House resumed from June 19 consideration of the motion that Bill S-206, An Act respecting World Autism Awareness Day, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

World Autism Awareness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill S-206, under private members' business.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #452

World Autism Awareness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill is referred to the Standing Committee on Health.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

The House resumed from June 19 consideration of the motion that Bill C-24, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Panama, the Agreement on the Environment between Canada and the Republic of Panama and the Agreement on Labour Cooperation between Canada and the Republic of Panama, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

6:35 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the previous question at the second reading stage of Bill C-24.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #453

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

I declare the motion carried.

The next question is on the main motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.


Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Madam Speaker, if you seek it I believe you would find agreement to apply the results of the previous vote to the current vote, with the Conservatives voting yes.

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Is there consent to proceed in this way?

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Some hon. members


Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.


Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Speaker, the NDP agrees with proceeding in this fashion and we will vote no.

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.


Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Madam Speaker, the Liberals agree and are voting yes.

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.


Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois will vote no.

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.


Bruce Hyer Independent Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Madam Speaker, Thunder Bay—Superior North will be voting no.

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.


Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

The Green Party will vote no.

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.


Peter Goldring Independent Edmonton East, AB

Madam Speaker, I will be voting yes.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #454

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

I declare the motion carried.

Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on International Trade.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

It being 6:50, the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

The House resumed from May 11 consideration of the motion.

Children's HealthPrivate Members' Business

6:50 p.m.


Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise to speak in favour of this motion but I must say that I do so very reluctantly.

On the surface, it seems like a good motion as it deals with taking steps to bring down the high levels of obesity, especially childhood obesity, in this country, but it does not do anything new. The motion just reiterates everything that is currently in the government's obesity framework but nothing in that obesity framework has been implemented. Nothing in that obesity framework has been done in spite of the fact that the putative efforts at the very beginning have been shown not to work and in spite of the government receiving advice to strengthen those efforts nothing has been done.

However, if we do not support the motion then we are in danger of not supporting apple pie, motherhood, sunshine, sweetness and life. As always, we have to stand here and support what on paper sounds like a good thing but in reality has absolutely no teeth.

Why is it a good thing to deal with the issue of childhood obesity? It is because we know that children today will not live as long as their parents will or did. Children aged 2 to 17 have an obesity rate of up to 26%, which is up from 15% 20 years ago. Youth aged 12 to 17 have a higher rate at 29%. First nations children and youth off-reserve have a combined obesity rate of 41%.

With obesity comes high incidents of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, sleep apnea and joint problems. The economic costs of doing nothing about obesity leads us to another generation of lost productivity and increased costs to our health care system.

The sad thing about this is that obesity is preventable. We can do something about obesity. Other countries, especially European countries, have taken strong steps. They have set measurable goals and objectives for bringing down obesity in their populations, and they are talking about tiny amounts of obesity which they think are acceptable. However, those countries have put teeth in what they are doing.

Even the United States is doing things. It is making strong legislation and it is taking powerful aim at industry. It is mandating industry to take certain steps to deal with the percentage of trans fats, to label products and to ensure its products have lower sugar levels.

We do not see that happening here in spite of the minister receiving advice from not only advisory committees set up to look at this from a purely scientific perspective, but advice from the Department of Health itself.

In 2007, the government brought in, to its credit, a voluntary industrial initiative asking industry to bring down trans fats, the levels of salt and sugar and to look at carbonated beverages. However, that was voluntary and the Department of Health and all of the data has shown that it does not work. It has not brought the obesity rate down. Obesity keeps rising. Here we have a motion that says this is all wonderful. It repeats exactly what the government is doing. The motion would not put any teeth or any strength or any spine into what is happening.

We will vote for the motion and it will obviously pass. Government backbenchers will say that they are keen on fighting obesity and that they have done a great job dealing with it. They will tell Canadians to look at the private member's bill that everybody in the House voted for. However, the sad thing about it is that nothing will change and we will still have increasing rates of obesity.

We are all prepared to support a bill from a member who is prepared to take this issue on in a real way. We really want to do something about it.

We have talked about the federal and provincial ministers coming together with the federal government to create a pan-Canadian strategy. Part of it means not just advertising that people should be exercising, but talking about building infrastructure, creating coaches, creating places where the young people can play safely and do the maximum amount of exercises, both cardio and weight, that will bring down their obesity.

There is an ability for that to happen. Ministers agreed about 10 years ago that they would create this infrastructure of sport, not just saying that young people should exercise, but providing the tools they need. The ministers of education have talked about this. The ministers of sport have talked about this.

Many provinces have had to go off on their own and take strong measures, as strong as they can take under provincial jurisdiction, to bring down the rate of obesity. I know my province of British Columbia is determined that we will fight this. It has put forward all sorts of infrastructure for play, for sport and for encouraging physical activity. However, we are not doing it here.

The minister has never once stood to put up the necessary funding or the leadership behind the strategy for helping young people across the country to exercise, thus preventing young people from doing the physical activity they need and allowing for the continuation of low levels of physical activity among Canadian youth.

Let us take an inactive person. An inactive person will spend 38% more days in hospital, have 5.5 more family physician visits, use 13% more specialists' services and use 12% more nurse visits.

Physical activity brings down rates of chronic disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, breast cancer, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and, later on in life, osteoporosis.

Obesity, to be very honest, costs the country $7.1 billion a year. One would think this is a cost benefit to put in place the mandatory requirements for industry to bring down the levels of trans fat, fat and sugar in our products. Other countries are doing it with no problems. One would think it is a no-brainer. The motion supports the government saying that it is a good thing, but it is does not add a single tooth toward making it happen.

We also note that we could save $76 billion over the next 10 years by tackling risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking, physical inactivity, obesity, et cetera. Yet in the government's last budget it cut the smoking cessation strategies by 34%.

I stand here and reluctantly admit that the Liberal Party will have to support the motion. Not to support it would be untenable. However, to support it means that are saying that we think we have done wonderfully well, that we have supported bringing down of obesity. However, another 10 years from now, someone will be sitting here arguing the same thing, talking about the rates of obesity, what it is costing in terms of productivity, lives lost and longevity and what going to be done about.

That is what bothers me a great deal in the House. We talk about a lot of things. I think the intent may be good. I am not impugning the intent, but nothing happens. We do not put in place measurable goals to achieve what we want to achieve, look at best practices in other countries and do what we need to do to deal with the issues and we problems can prevent.

Sixty per cent of all diseases that we suffer from today are preventable. We are talking about preventing a major one here. Sadly, I will support the motion, but it has very little to do with anything. We have the federal-provincial-territorial framework that has all these criteria that have been set, all the action that must be done. However, nothing has happened and it will not happen with this motion.

Children's HealthPrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.


Joe Daniel Conservative Don Valley East, ON

Madam Speaker, it is my sincere pleasure to stand today in support of Motion No. 319. The motion by the member for Ottawa—Orléans focuses on the promotion and maintenance of healthy weights for youth and children.

This issue is very important to me and all Canadians. I know that society as a whole benefits from children and youth maintaining healthy weights and practising healthy behaviours. The World Health Organization declared in 2011 that obesity was a global epidemic that facing us now.

More than one quarter of Canadian children are overweight or obese, with rates even higher among aboriginal people. Of even greater concern, these rates are increasing.

We also know that in addition to significant personal and human costs, obesity is an important driver of health care costs, accounting for over $7 billion in direct and indirect costs.

Last fall the United Nations high level meeting on non-communicable diseases highlighted that obesity was a global health problem, and many countries had put a high priority on tackling this issue. The Minister of Health attended this important meeting, showing Canada's commitment to work with others in finding solutions.

Reversing the trend in childhood obesity is very important. Childhood obesity not only causes a number of health issues in childhood, but can also lead to long-term health problems later in life. Addressing the cause of obesity requires a society-wide shift to change the social and physical environment that influences the eating habits and activity levels of children and families.

Obesity is a complex issue and all Canadians have a role to play in monitoring and maintaining healthy weights for children and youth. We did not get here overnight and there is no quick fix. To achieve change, we will have to work together. This includes involvement at all levels of government, communities, researchers and the non-profit and private sectors. This government is facilitating, convening and actively contributing to the partnerships focused on making an impact on childhood obesity.

The motion highlights the need to continue to work on childhood obesity in this manner, and by engaging and coordinating with other colleagues. We are working with our provincial, territorial and international colleagues on childhood obesity. The motion asks that we continue the dialogue with provinces, territories, health stakeholders, industry and all Canadians to promote and maintain healthy weights for children and youth. Together with the provinces and territories, we have agreed upon a direction that we need to take to work on addressing obesity.

This shared vision to guide efforts to promote healthy living across Canada is elaborated upon in the September 2010 federal, provincial and territorial declaration on prevention and health promotion. Through this declaration, governments have agreed to work together and with other sectors to make the promotion of health and the prevention of disease, disability and injury a priority for action.

As a first step, governments endorsed “Curbing Childhood Obesity: A Federal, Provincial and Territorial Framework for Action to Promote Healthy Weights”, which makes childhood overweight and obesity the collective priority for action. Through these initiatives we are working to identify joint and complementary actions.

In March 2011, we launched “Our Health Our Future”, a national dialogue. This dialogue provided federal, provincial and territorial governments with input from Canadian stakeholders, including individual citizens, communities and industry.

The dialogue gave Canadians across the country the chance to connect with each other and to share their ideas about how to promote healthy weights for children and youth. Building on this dialogue, last month, the Minister of Health co-hosted a summit on healthy weights. The summit brought together a diverse group of people who showed great leadership in working together toward a common goal, reducing childhood obesity.

The summit, like this motion, is an important step in highlighting the conditions that will help children, youth and their families achieve healthy weights.

We are working hard to bring many sectors to the table because we know that governments alone cannot solve this problem. Each sector brings a unique viewpoint, strength and focus to the discussion of childhood obesity.

I would like to take this opportunity to tell the House about some of the groups we are already working with on this issue, including some of Canada's leading non-governmental organizations. These groups include the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada, Physical Health and Education Canada, Participaction and the Canadian Obesity Network. These organizations, along with others, are catalysts for addressing obesity.

We also acknowledge the great potential for private industry to make an impact on childhood obesity. Discussions with groups like Food and Consumer Products of Canada and the Retail Council of Canada are helping us understand the possible actions we can take together.

Other organizations are also making key contributions to the broader dialogue on food policy, which will ultimately have an impact on child obesity. This includes groups like the Conference Board of Canada and the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute. Both of these groups are providing important insight into future direction and outlining ways to approach issues linked to childhood obesity.

We are also working with Canada's research community. Through the Canadian Institute of Health Research, the government is funding research on obesity.

From 2010 to 2011, the institutes funded $34 million in obesity-related research. These funds help place obesity on the national health research agenda, generating new knowledge that will help us assess and identify the most effective mechanisms to address obesity in Canada and to improve the health of Canadians.

Working in a collaborative fashion to address childhood obesity helps us capitalize on each other's strengths for the greatest possible effect.

The motion calls for actions related to the promotion of access to healthy foods, support for making healthy food choices and physical activity. In concert with key partners, we are promoting accessibility and availability of nutritious food.

For Canadians living in isolated northern communities, Nutrition North Canada is helping make nutritious perishable foods more accessible.

Another initiative, the Canada prenatal nutrition program, is helping communities provide support to prenatal and postpartum women facing challenging life circumstances by including nutritional information and breastfeeding support.

The community action program for children supports the healthy living of vulnerable young children and their families through the promotion of physical activity and nutrition.

Finally, Aboriginal Head Start includes meals, snacks and nutritious advice to address the development needs of our first nations children.

The government is also providing Canadians with information to help them make healthy food choices. This includes “Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide” and its culturally-tailored companion guide “Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide - First Nations, Inuit and Métis”. These guides provide evidence-based information about how much food Canadians need, what types of foods are better for Canadians and the importance of physical activity.

Canada's Food Guide is a resource for individuals, as well as health educators and professionals. The food guide also underpins nutrition and health policies, as well as educational programs across the country.

Moreover, the healthy eating awareness and education initiative was launched in October 2010 with the nutrition facts education campaign. The campaign focuses on consumers understanding how to use the nutrition facts table to help them make healthy food choices, with a focus on understanding the use of the daily value percentage.

At the summit on healthy weights, we announced a further investment of $4 million for the initiative to continue to provide Canadians with the information needed to make healthy food choices.

We will do this by promoting healthy eating, using Canada's Food Guide, through outreach, partnerships, social media engagement and web tools.

While nutrition is a significant component of this motion, we are also promoting physical activity through programs like the children's fitness tax credit and the healthy living fund and providing information on how to get active. We are also using evidence to help develop effective programs and policies on childhood obesity.

Federal, provincial and territorial health ministers will report to Canadians every two years on childhood obesity trends and on progress being made across the country to tackle this challenge. This will help us to ensure the best value for our investment, while also allowing us to learn from the successful initiatives and to modify approaches as appropriate.

Children's HealthPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.


Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this motion today. I still have a valid health care practitioner's licence, so I am always happy to talk about health-related issues, especially issues that have to do with children and youth.

This motion calls on the House to work with the provinces and territories, as well as with health stakeholders, to teach young people about obesity and problems associated with obesity. It also calls on the House to take measures to curb childhood obesity. Although I agree with this motion, I would like to say that I do not think it will do very much.

No one can disagree that obesity is a major problem in our society, but unfortunately, the wording of the motion does not add anything useful and will not achieve much on this issue.

I would like to point out that obesity is a serious health problem, especially when it begins in childhood. Obesity has a variety of effects on health. It can affect both physical and psychological health. We know that young people can be more isolated, have fewer opportunities to speak, have problems with their friends and have self-esteem problems.

In addition to physical health problems, there can be mental health problems. They can affect one's quality of life. Obese individuals cannot participate in the same activities. An obese individual might be unable to go out with friends because he cannot take part in the activity they are doing. There may also be an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Ultimately, obesity can affect life expectancy.

As we have seen, obesity can lead to many problems. For example, it can significantly increase the risk of many chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, liver and gall bladder disease, stroke, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

I want to point out that type 2 diabetes used to affect older people. The greater the demand on the pancreas, the more it deteriorates, and the more likely a person is to require medication. This type of diabetes usually develops later in life, among people over 40. Now, however, we are seeing teenagers with type 2 diabetes. Our teenagers are suffering from old-age diabetes. This is a big problem.

Obese people also have a greater risk of developing cancer, particularly endometrial, breast and colon cancer. Obesity can also cause sleep apnea, which can even lead to death, since sufferers stop breathing in their sleep. It is very disturbing. It causes other respiratory problems, too.

In Canada, 26% of children aged 2 to 17 are overweight or obese. Twenty-six percent. That is a lot. That is one in every four kids.

Obesity rates are even higher in aboriginal populations. Approximately 20% of aboriginal children aged 6 to 14 who live off reserve are obese. Some 26.4% of aboriginal children aged 9 to 14 living on reserve are obese.

In light of all these facts, I think the government really needs to take a leadership role when it comes to promoting health and healthy lifestyles. The incidence of obesity and the problems it causes for Canadian families and on our health care system is truly significant. It is important to understand just how much obesity is weighing down our health care system.

According to recent estimates concerning the economic burden of obesity, it is costing the Canadian health care system somewhere between $4.6 billion and $7.1 billion a year.

The Conservatives have had those figures for years now, but have failed to show any leadership on a host of important health issues, including on regulating unhealthy foods, on offering solutions to provide full treatment for people with obesity and on funding physical activity programs.

Although the motion deals with obesity, it does not call for concrete measures to be adopted to deal directly with the problem of obesity.

In 2007—many of my colleagues were members of Parliament at the time—the Standing Committee on Health published a report entitled, “Healthy Weights for Healthy Kids”. The report contained 13 key recommendations, the main one being that the government establish support programs and set targets for reducing childhood obesity rates, including a 10% reduction by 2020.

In this report, the committee also recommended immediately adopting measures to address childhood obesity among aboriginals. It listed various progressive and concrete strategies to reduce childhood obesity.

This committee report provides a real plan of action. It has concrete measures and the data to move forward. I think it is a shame that this motion does not take the recommendations in the report into account, in order to try to find something that will allow us to truly make progress in the fight against obesity.

The motion also calls for dialogue with industry. I agree that it is important to engage all stakeholders. However, at this point, we have had enough discussions with industry. That has been done, and it may be time to take a harder stance with industry about health-related matters. We want processed foods that are bad for our health to be regulated. The government has not dared do this. These are things the government could do, and it knows it.

Furthermore, this motion fails to consider an important aspect of the problem: the socio-economic factors of obesity. It is not by chance that aboriginal children are most affected. We know that they are deeply affected by poverty.

A family that has trouble making ends meet will find it much more difficult to provide a healthy and balanced diet for the children. That has to be taken into consideration. In Canada, two litres of milk cost approximately $2.35 at the grocery store, while two litres of Coca-Cola cost 59¢. Then we wonder why Canadian families cannot make healthy choices when they have no money. It makes no sense that products that are good for health are more expensive and that Canadian families cannot afford them. We have to eliminate poverty if we want people to be healthier one day, and if we really want to fight obesity.

I would also like to point out that the NDP has always pushed for regulations governing trans fats in food in order to reduce the impact of poor food on obesity. Trans fats have various effects on health.

For example, in 2004, my colleague from Winnipeg Centre introduced a private member's motion to regulate the trans fat content in foods. The motion was adopted unanimously, but since then, the government has not followed up with any concrete measures. My colleague also introduced Bill C-303, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (trans fatty acids) to limit trans fatty acids to two grams per 100 grams.

The Conservative government is continuing to avoid taking concrete measures to address the problem of childhood obesity. Rather than simply talking about this issue, the government should be establishing health targets to reduce obesity rates, taking measures to regulate processed foods, and providing funding for physical fitness and nutrition programs. If the government does not immediately attack this problem and its underlying causes, the rising obesity rates will continue to have a serious impact on the health of Canadians and will continue to be a major burden on our health care system.

There have been enough studies of the issue of childhood obesity. There have been enough recommendations, and we have enough information to take much more concrete action on this issue. It is possible to have a much more proactive action plan that would allow us to take concrete action to combat obesity. The health of Canadian children depends on it.

Children's HealthPrivate Members' Business

7:20 p.m.


Colin Mayes Conservative Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to stand in the House today to address a critical issue, childhood obesity, and to talk about how sectors of society, including government, are tackling this public health issue.

Helping children maintain healthy weights results in healthier living down the road and benefits Canada as a whole. To help support such efforts, I would like to speak in favour of Motion No. 319, introduced by my colleague, the hard-working member for Ottawa—Orléans. The motion before us builds on the momentum of recent federal actions and growing public awareness of the importance of promoting healthy weights, physical activity and healthy food choices for children and youth.

I have 10 grandchildren who are all very healthy. Not one of them is having a problem with obesity, but that has a lot to do with their parents' awareness of making sure their children have healthy foods and an active lifestyle. However, not all parents are doing that for their children, so we need to make sure there is awareness for parents of how they can better address this issue and ensure their children live healthy lifestyles.

The basis of the motion is the federal, provincial and territorial framework for action to promote healthy weights entitled, “Curbing Childhood Obesity”. Through this framework, governments have agreed to make childhood obesity a collective priority to help create the conditions for healthy weights. The framework also encourages the federal government to continue multi-sector dialogue on creating the social and physical environments that support healthy eating and physical activity.

Before describing the elements of this motion, I would like to take a moment to outline the childhood obesity situation in Canada. Obesity rates have never been higher in Canada. It is particularly concerning that today children face obesity rates that are three times higher than they were 25 years ago. This comes with clear human and economic costs. Reducing childhood obesity levels and promoting healthy weights is critical to the prevention of illness.

Increasingly, obese children are being diagnosed with a range of health conditions seen almost exclusively among adults, including type 2 diabetes and even high blood pressure. Estimates of the direct health care costs of obesity go as high as $6 billion a year. Therefore efforts to promote health, and thereby reduce chronic disease, make good sense.

If we do not address the issue of obesity in young Canadians now, we risk seeing the first generation of children who will have a lower life expectancy than that of their parents. Addressing the challenges posed by obesity is not a simple task. In order to make an impact, it will require the involvement of multiple levels of government and numerous sectors of society. As we go about reducing obesity rates, it is important that we examine many factors, including those that are biological, behavioural, psychological, technological, environmental, social, economic and cultural. All Canadians have a role to play in making sure our children are provided with the best opportunities to make healthy choices for maintaining healthy weights. It will not be a quick fix, and it will require a sustained effort.

That is why I am here today encouraging support for this motion, so that we can build on the momentum of current efforts to address obesity. Motion No. 319 contains four elements. Each element builds on agreed-upon directions that encourage a collaborative approach to promoting healthy choices. This motion encourages the federal government to continue its dialogue with the provinces, territories, industry, numerous health-related stakeholders and Canadians to promote and maintain healthy weights for children and youth.

Last year, for example, the federal government, along with the provinces and territories, launched a national dialogue about healthy weights, known as “Our Health, Our Future”. The dialogue was a basis for public engagement across the country with a diverse group of Canadians and organizations who collaborated to identify areas for action.

Through this dialogue we have heard from youth, non-governmental organizations, aboriginal organizations, health professionals, the provinces and territories, industry and Canadians. Approximately 1,000 individuals and organizations were engaged in this dialogue. Online consultations and social media were a key part of public engagement, which helped to increase participation. What Canadians told us will help guide further action in this area.

Another significant milestone was the summit on healthy weights, which took place this past February. The summit was a collaborative effort of federal, provincial and territorial governments, co-hosted by our federal health minister. It was an opportunity for representatives across many sectors to put their heads together and focus on healthy eating, active living, creating supportive environments and promoting multi-sectoral partnerships.

The summit also brought together a diverse range of individuals and organizations, resulting in a unique forum for open discussion. It inspired new ideas and forged new relationships, paving the way for collaborative action to promote and maintain healthy weights in children and youth.

Such collaborative discussions are what this motion proposes to continue. The motion calls for the federal government to further encourage discussions to address the factors that lead to obesity. These factors include social and physical environments, physical activity and promotion of and access to nutritious food.

In the curbing childhood obesity framework, federal, provincial and territorial governments agreed to identify and address the risk factors that can lead to obesity in children and youth. An example would be focusing on making the environments where children live, learn and play more supportive of physical activity and healthy eating. Schools, for example, like other places where children live, learn and play, are an important setting to promote healthy eating and physical activity.

As members know, for most Canadians responsibility for school health lies with the provincial and territorial governments and school boards. Many provinces and territories have developed school nutrition policies and programs as part of more comprehensive school health programs.

We also know that the various levels of governments can do even more when we all work together. A good example of this is the Joint Consortium for School Health. The consortium is a federal, provincial and territorial partnership that brings the health and education sectors together to promote the health of children and youth in school settings. This type of national collaboration and co-operation facilitates the sharing of knowledge, the leveraging of resources and stronger alignment between sectors.

In addition, making healthy food choices available and accessible, particularly nutritious foods, remains important to Canadians.

The federal government supports healthier eating through the nutrition north Canada program. This program provides a subsidy to lower the cost of transporting perishable healthy foods to isolated northern communities.

As well, the aboriginal head start program helps address the developmental needs of first nations children by supporting efforts to improve access to the availability of healthy meals, snacks and nutritional advice.

The Canada prenatal nutrition program is another example of a collaborative program that recognizes the importance of early intervention. This program assists communities in providing nutritional information and breastfeeding support to prenatal and postpartum women facing challenging life circumstances.

Collective community-based supports are also available to Canadians through the community action program for children, which promotes the healthy development of vulnerable young children and their families.

The motion calls for the federal government to encourage individuals and organizations to commit to participating in the promotion of healthy weights. This is why I feel that this motion is worthy of support from all members of this House.