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Opinion, Dave Dale: Labels on political promises needed

Perhaps Canadians will drink less if politicians stop lying so much?
Canada may soon have cancer warnings on alcohol beverage products to go along with warnings to refrain when pregnant.

It won’t be long before booze will be sold with warning labels similar to commercial tobacco products. Next will be bans on beach-party advertisements, even the ones sporting fun-loving multi-ethnic friends cracking cold ones in the dancing glow of battery-powered faux bonfires.

I’m thinking the same logic should be applied to political promises at every level, but specifically provincial and federal liars such as Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The alcohol topic bubbled up again last week when the Canadian Centre for Substance Use and Addiction released a report signalling the last call for any safe level of consumption. The increased risk of certain cancers is at the bottom of the health-conscious toast – even though booze-fuelled lifestyles are often more destructive in a host of other ways.

Read the report here.

As for the carcinogen factor, the group dropped the hazardous consumption bar for weekly imbibing from 15 standard drinks to a six-pack for males and from 10 to three for females (less than one bottle of wine over seven days). More than 40 per cent of Canadians guzzle more than the old guidelines and another 17 per cent are above the new danger zone, so there’s a keg-worth of sober second thoughts on the horizon.

I have no idea, however, what they are recommending for transgender people and there’s probably an age and weight adjustment redacted for the sensitive types. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a race-based chart hidden somewhere in the fine print stating that white males can and should drink more to hasten the gene pool cleansing some seek.

As for labels, how about a skull with crossbones? It could represent the broad spectrum of ways drinking alcohol can lubricate the path to wicked ways and sickness. Maybe add a black-eye to represent the potential of uninhibited violence with the skull riding in a scooter to show the loss of a driving licence.

The dampening of inhibitions and numbing of sensitivities have some short-term appeal, although the benefits decrease exponentially by the volume applied. You might feel emboldened to chat with the charming clerk in the mail room after one or two beers, but the sixth or seventh might lead to sharing previously suppressed thoughts about the boss – to their face.

Truth is, booze is likely the most common self-destructive substance known to humankind. It’s the gateway to drugs and addiction, especially if you factor in the sugar that slithers along with it.

The question remains, though: Why do people “recreate and sedate” with alcohol in the first place? And what will take its place?

I wonder if people would have curtailed their drinking sooner if it was known that alcohol was a contributing factor to cancer.

Nobody back in the day said the body converted alcohol into acetaldehyde, which damages DNA to the point that cells can’t be repaired, leaving them to potentially replicate cancerous results.

Perhaps the new guidelines and explanations will give people more perspective and motivate healthier decisions. I’m not hopeful because it wasn’t like we didn’t know it was addictive, risky and damaging. We were trying to escape a reality that made it clear almost everything we eat, breathe and rub into our skin causes something just as bad or worse.

In one of the articles published on the subject, it was noted that alcohol-induced cancers represent a small fraction of avoidable fatal cancers. Regardless, I won't be shocked if insurance policies will soon become void if people drink beyond a glass or two weekly.

I think the lies politicians are allowed to get away with cause more long-term damage to society by eroding confidence in democracy while, as a result of the duplicity, stealing resources from society via grift and graft.

A prime example is Ford promising to leave the Green Belt alone, but developers somehow figured it would be smart to buy land at agricultural use prices anyway. Nice windfall when the Progressive Conservatives pivoted.

Another provincial fib alert is the privatization of health care, which will see businesses profiting through either higher rates or lower standards than public institutions – which have the beds and space to expand services but have funding choked off or capped.

As for Trudeau, there’s a long list of scams topped by the broken promise of moving the federal electoral system away from the first-past-the-post and closer to a proportional outcome. The new firearm legislation, advertised as handgun legislation and bait-switched to include hunting rifles, is one more for the pile.

Next election, every campaign plank needs to come with a hazardous waste caution – and a bottle of rye or wine (without a blackened liver or mastectomy scar staring back) for each trespass of honesty.

Dave Dale is a veteran journalist and columnist who has covered the North Bay area for more than 30 years. Reader responses meant as Letters to the Editor can be sent to [email protected]. Contact the writer directly, email: [email protected] or check out his website 


Dave Dale

About the Author: Dave Dale

Dave Dale is a veteran journalist who has been writing about Northern Ontario issues for more than three decades.
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