Mr. Speaker, the purpose of my bill is to provide information to Canadians that they can use to make healthy food choices. During the bill's hour of debate on a previous occasion a number of speakers pointed out the various organizations and citizens groups that do support the bill in its current form, never mind with any improvements.
I greatly resent the Chicken Little kind of arguments that have been raised by those who are in opposition to this bill that somehow the sky would fall if this bill were to pass, that somehow millions of Canadians would be thrown out of work because all of a sudden some regulations come in to show that a particular hamburger has 362 calories on a menu board, which is all the bill is about when it talks about fast food restaurants with menu boards only.
I also want to remind those who are listening that it is a gross exaggeration to say that poor old mom and pop restaurants will be put out of business because my bill has nothing to do with small businesses. The minimum threshold is $10 million a year gross sales. What kind of argument is it to say that this bill would put mom and pop restaurants out of business? Those are the arguments of desperate people who cannot come up with valid arguments.
Nonetheless, I have read the letters from the restaurant association people as well and, by the way, none of them have ever approached me to sit down and talk about this. They have simply mounted, as members have heard today, a huge campaign to defeat the bill at second reading. Some of my hon. friends across the way, apparently, do not even want the subject matter discussed at the health committee.
I have worked with the Minister of Health. I understand that the same kinds of arguments were raised by manufacturers when they wanted to put information on prepackaged foods in a voluntary way. They fought it tooth and nail until finally the government indicated that it must be mandatory. It is clear that people read labels. It is clear that people make food choices based on the information or lack of information they have.
Let us take the subject matter to the health committee. Let the health committee call the witnesses. Let the restaurant associations attend. The bill is not designed to cover six trillion possible combinations. It is designed to offer the kind of solution that Subway has offered, which is that if people order a standard Subway sandwich, they will get approximately seven grams of fat and approximately 350 calories. Of course, if someone wants it loaded up with five tablespoons of mayonnaise there will be more fat, but that is the person's choice. It is just so people will have an approximate idea of what they are consuming.
I urge members not to panic in terms of referring the subject matter to the health committee for further study. I have consented to withdraw the bill if the amendment to withdraw the bill passes, so there will not be any legislation. We are simply talking about providing consumers with further information.
How can anybody be against providing consumers with further information? We are not talking about bankrupting restaurants. We are not talking about putting Canadians out of work. We are talking about trying to find a reasonable middle ground to provide nutritional information to consumers when they go out to enjoy all the restaurants that have been named, many of which I have attended and have enjoyed.
Let us get serious and be reasonable. Let us at least study the subject matter. I urge my colleagues to support the amendment. We will withdraw the bill and send the subject matter to the committee where everyone will have more than five minutes to offer their views, and there will be considered consideration of the principle.