News / Toronto

Students stage mock store to protest proposed junk-food regulation

Students for Liberty opens a one day "Nanny State Corner Store" near Bathurst and Lawrence Thursday

Ryan Shea, left, and David Clement say the state has no business in the dinner tables of the nation.

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Ryan Shea, left, and David Clement say the state has no business in the dinner tables of the nation.

A group of Toronto students are opening a pop-up corner store in an elaborate protest against government proposals to regulate junk food.

The Nanny State Corner Store will be open Thursday at Bathurst and Lawrence. Its shelves will be stocked with chocolate bars, chips and pop adorned with logos warning hungry patrons about their health effects.

Rather than sell the snacks, the store will be giving them away for free.

Students for Liberty, a network of over 100 students from different universities in Toronto, is behind the stunt. Group member David Clement hopes it sparks a discussion about the limits of government interventions in our diets.

“These ridiculous proposals are aimed at infantilizing the lifestyle of adults,” he said.  “It’s simply a growing trend of limiting consumer choice and that’s not acceptable.”

Both the federal and provincial governments have mused about new taxes and labeling restrictions for unhealthy food, alcohol and tobacco products. Documents obtained this week by the Canadian Press show the federal Liberals are considering a tax on soft drinks, while Public Health Ontario has suggested adding more graphic packaging to alcohol.

Clement said his group doesn’t dispute that some products can be dangerous or unhealthy, but he said people should be able to make their own choices about whether to consume them.

“Eliminating colour from a tobacco package isn’t going to stop people from smoking,” he said.

The pop-up store will be open for one day only, at 3148 Bathurst St. from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

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