Health Minister Says Retailers Should Not Care About Customers Health

According to a report in the Ottawa Citizen Health Minister Tony Clement thinks retailers should not be concerned about the health and safety of their customers and should decide what to sell only on the basis of what people will buy.

Health Minister Tony Clement said yesterday there's no need for retailers to assume the role of regulator when it comes to deciding which products are safe for sale in Canada -- just as two more giant retailers pulled all plastic products with bisphenol A from their shelves.

"Retailers make their own decisions, based upon what they think will sell and won't sell, so I'm not going to tell them how to run their businesses. I'm concerned about the health and safety of Canadians, and when we have something to announce, we'll announce it," said Mr. Clement.

He added Health Canada decides whether a product is safe for use or if it should be banned.

These companies are "saying to others that the market for these (BPA) products is drying up pretty quickly. So listen, if it's a market-based decision, that's for them to make. If it's health and safety, of course, Health Canada has to protect the health and safety of Canadians," Mr. Clement said.
The Minister seems to believe that the only responsibility retailers have is to maximize their profits and that only Big Brother Health Canada has a responsibility for the health of Canadians.

We would be a sad and unhealthy society if we all thought that way. But, of course, we don’t. Would the minister have parents buy dangerous and unhealthy toys for their children just because they are allowed to be sold. I suppose he would, because he believes retailers should sell goods they consider dangerous, unless and until Health Canada decides they should not.

Fortunately there are retailers who believe maximizing profit is not the only thing and choose their products considering such things as the health and safety of their customers. In the case of polycarbonate bottles containing bisphenol A Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) was the first Canadian retailer to stop selling the product out of concern for the health of it’s members and customers. MEC, of course, has a reputation for putting the needs and the well-being of its members and customers first.

This is a good thing Mr. Clement. Remember you are the Minister of Health, not the Minister of Unbridled Capitalism.

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