This year my husband and I have been able to afford the luxury of taking a year to travel. This is something that most Canadian will never be able to do and we feel so grateful we had such an amazing opportunity.
As we were traveling, there were several really forwarding thinking ways of life that left me wondering. In such an amazing country as Canada, why are we so behind the times? What is holding us back from changing, fear or closed mindedness?
As Julia Andrews said in The Sound of Music, ‘Here are a few of my favourite things’:
- We visited coffee shops that allowed alcohol to be added to your selection. It wasn’t a full bar, you couldn’t walk in and order a beer, but if you felt like a Bailey’s & Coffee, the option was available. This was not just for in store consumption, but also for take away.
- There was not one country we visited that did not sell Alcohol in grocery and corner stores. Signs were in plain view to remind consumersÂ they would be ID’d, it was convenient, yet civilized. There was no restriction on the hours of distribution, which meant people are not grabbing 24 beers to head to a party. They would take 2 or 3 beers, knowing full well they can obtain more if needed.
- Our friends have dubbed it ‘Bar Spillage’. It is when you take your drink and stand in the street socializing rather then sitting in the tiny pub. It really is very civilized and well structured. Staff will walk around every so often to pick up empty glasses, but on a whole it was nice to be able to not have to stay within the confines of a fenced in patio to complete your beverage. PatronsÂ spread several metres on either side of the pub enjoying drink and company.
In Europe, you are allowed to drink starting at age 16, but any form of distilled alcohol is not allowed until the age of 18. That means, fermented drinks like beer or wine are permitted startingÂ at age 16. This allows young adultsÂ to start to become ‘socialized’. Removing the drunken bingeing when they final are allowed to try their first drink at 18.
Moving away for our antiquated liquor laws, there are a few things I liked about Protecting Citizens Health.
- When we are growing up, parents try to protect us from foods that were not good for us. Today, our country is littered with such an array of unhealthy choices, it is hard to avoid. The leading cause of death is moving towards obesity. As a good parent, several countries have banned Genetically Modified Foods (GMO). I don’t need to go any further than that – any artificially created food is not good for us – so lets ban them. Oh, and if I hear one argument that we need GMO foods to feed the growing population, that’s just crap, Canada’s population is lower then these countries that have already banned GMO.
- I have mentioned the need to tax unhealthy food choices in the past. Interestingly enough, some countries have implemented a ‘Sugar Tax’. France, Denmark, Finland, and Hungary are examples of countries that have set taxes on high sugar and high calorie products like sweetened soft drinks, sugar confectionery, chocolate, ice cream, chewing gum, and energy drinks. Mexico, yes Mexico, has taken this tax and extend it to fast food or a ‘Junk Food Tax’ as obesity is on the rise, placing extra financial burden on the health system. I like it, if you want to eat crap, well then you have to pay a tax to do so.
- In Canada, we promote driving by putting billions of dollars into infrastructure. We build bigger roads to accommodate more and more cars. In Europe I was allowed to see what would happen if you put more investment into peoples health by simply building bike lanes. These are cities that have narrow streets, but each has a separate slightly raised bike lane. Cyclists follow traffic rules and signals just for bikes. To me it appeared like everyone in Copenhagen rode a bike rather then drove.
- Let’s talk biofuels or clean running vehicles. Stockholm has the largest number of clean vehicles in Europe. The process of introducing cleaner vehicles and cleaner fuels started in 1994. Only vehicles that use biofuels or deemed ‘clean vehicles’ are allowed at the Arlanda Airport, thus motivation for taxi’s to convert. There is also tax incentives given by the government to switch to clean cars such as: fuel reduction at the pump, price break on vehicle purchase, tax exemptions, free parking in city and lower registration fees. Challenging our oil and gas industry to at least have one biofuel at the pump is a good thing, I think you would agree.
Mr. Trudeau, you may never read or see this letter, but if you do, in your own words: ‘…because it’s 2015.’
post scriptum: Enjoy these pictures of London and our journey to Stockholm.