Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has changed his mind about supporting a tax on sugary drinks.
City councillor and the leader of Coalition Montreal, Marvin Rotrand, has been advocating for a tax on sugary drinks for many years.
Until now Coderre has opposed such a measure, but on Thursday he said that imposing a tax could be a way to help people choose more nutritious options when buying food, and cut down on obesity.
He said revenues would go directly to the city's new program to help underprivileged children.
"I think that it would be a good way to change behavior and focus on public health so it is a matter of public health, it is a matter of food safety, and it's at the same time a dedicated fund that will permit us to focus specifically with those kind of programs," said Coderre.
He said Montreal's new metropolis status gives the city the ability to impose the tax.
More importantly in Coderre's opinion, doing so would put children at less risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other health risks associated with being overweight.
"To think otherwise outside of the box and change the behaviours not only through sustainable development but at the same time in the way that we can fund that kind of strategy," said Coderre.
In 2015 Rotrand tried to convince city council to introduce a tax on sugary drinks, but Coderre and the rest of council opposed his motion.
"It comes out of the blue less than two weeks before the election when he's never mentioned it since the motion in 2015 which he wouldn't vote for," said Rotrand.
Regardless, Rotrand supports the measure.
"It's worked in Mexico. It's worked in the Phillippines, France. Wherever they've had a sugar tax it's reduced consumption and that's really the goal," said Rotrand.
Meanwhile Projet Montreal candidate Valerie Plante reiterated her promise for more social housing.
She pledged to create social housing and affordable housing adjacent to Gaetan Laberge Blvd. in Verdun.
Plante said that Montreal has not made housing for low-income families a priority.