Libby in the News

Links to news articles written by or about Libby Davies.

  • Experts blast Health Canada’s approach to sodium reduction

    Health experts are lambasting Health Canada’s efforts to lower the amount of sodium Canadians consume and the lack of transparency surrounding the process. The average Canadian consumes far too much sodium and nearly 80 per cent of it comes from salt added to packaged and processed foods. For that reason, Health Canada created a set of voluntary guidelines for food manufacturers that set reduction targets for everything from flavoured tortillas to canned corn. The goal is to reduce the daily sodium consumption to 2,300 milligrams a day by 2016. (Current daily consumption is 3,400 milligrams.)..“We don’t have that data available in a transparent way that we can monitor that these changes are actually occurring,” said Kevin Willis, director of partnerships with the Canadian Stroke Network. “Government could require companies to make that information available so it can be verified. It’s all part of the transparent monitoring process.”

  • Most eat nearly double the recommended amount of salt: Study

    Three-quarters of the world’s population eats almost twice the daily recommended amount of salt, the American Heart Association said Thursday. Sodium intake worldwide averages at nearly 4,000 mg a day, according to 2010 figures. “We hope our findings will influence national governments to develop public health interventions to lower sodium,” said lead study author Dr. Saman Fahimi, a visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

  • Harper government mum on why Vancouver immigration raid was filmed by TV crew

    OTTAWA — The federal government is hoping to “educate” Canadians about the efforts of its border guard agents by taking part in a B.C.-based reality TV program, the Canada Border Services Agency said Friday. The CBSA was responding to critics who say the show, which films agents arresting drug smugglers and “phoney immigrants,” is a taxpayer-funded attempt to promote the Conservatives’ law-and-order agenda. Opposition MPs and a B.C. criminologist also said Border Security: Canada’s Front Line violates the privacy and dignity of individuals being filmed...“I think it’s appalling,” said New Democratic Party deputy leader Libby Davies. “People are presumed innocent until they’ve gone through due process. Having your face blasted on a reality TV show and having to sign a waiver, often under pressure, is I think a loss of a person’s rights and dignity and respect.”

  • Canadians ‘overwhelmingly’ support salt reduction initiatives

    TORONTO — Force the food industry to lower salt levels in products. Slap warning labels on foods that exceed healthy salt intake. And develop policies that ban too much salt in meals served in daycares, schools and nursing homes. Those are just a handful of salt reduction strategies Canadians say they “overwhelmingly” support, according to a new study. University of Toronto and University of Guelph researchers polled more than 2,600 Canadians across the country to get a pulse on where residents stand on salt reduction policies. Turns out, more than 80 per cent are throwing their support behind government intervention to reduce salt intake. Sixty-seven per cent of Canadians also have salt on their radar — especially older people and those with high blood pressure.

  • A Salt shocker

    Consuming less than 1,300 mg of sodium per day meant I had to be much more careful about my food choices. And it wasn't simply a matter of making my own lunch and avoiding fast-food joints. I was already -- generally -- doing that. Canadians, on average, consume about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. But the average adult requires only 1,500 mg or less, and the Canadian and American governments advise that we consume no more than 2,300 mg per day. It's incredibly easy to exceed that...Federal NDP Health Critic Libby Davies has introduced a private member's bill (C-460) in the House of Commons that would implement much of the Sodium Working Group's recommendations. It is to be debated in the next few weeks and should come to a vote in April. Davies (Vancouver East) isn't impressed with Ottawa's concern that now is not the time -- when the economy is fragile -- to make progress on an important health issue. "If not now, then when?" she said. "What is the cost of people's health?"

  • How much salt do you consume in a day? You may be surprised

    Too much sodium can have serious long-term health effects. But many Canadians don’t realize they regularly consume dangerous levels of salt on a daily basis. That’s because most of the sodium we consume is added to food products, such as sauces, canned vegetables, and salad dressings, before we take them home. About 80 per cent of our sodium intake comes from packaged or processed foods. Now, a group of researchers has created a tool to help Canadians understand how much salt they’re getting and the biggest sources. Researchers from the University of Toronto, the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences have developed an online salt calculator at It asks users a series of questions, such as how often they eat out, how many times a week they consume frozen or canned dishes and how often they use condiments in their meals, to estimate total sodium consumption...The concern is that a diet high in sodium is a major risk factor for high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attack, stroke and other serious health problems. High sodium intake has also been linked to osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney problems. Sodium is a controllable risk factor for these problems, which is why so many health professionals are urging governments to take action on the issue.

  • Sodium in Canadian restaurant foods 'alarmingly high'

    Sodium levels in many foods served at Canadian restaurant chains exceed the amount an adult should take in during a day, a new study finds. Researchers examined the salt levels in more than 9,000 foods sold at 65 fast-food restaurants and 20 sit-down restaurant chains with at least 20 locations across the country. Considering how common it is to dine out, along with the pervasiveness of hypertension and its health risks, the study authors said it was important to take a systematic look at sodium levels to assess progress towards the federal, provincial and territorial target of lowering sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per person per day by 2016.

  • High sodium levels should be disclosed, health groups urge

    A coalition of Canadian medical groups wants all food companies to be required to clearly disclose on the label if the amount of sodium in their products exceeds Health Canada's targets. The move comes as the World Health Organization recommended new daily consumption limits on sodium for children. The public health advice aims to reduce blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. "Foods that fail to meet Health Canada's sodium-reduction targets …would be required to disclose that fact on food labels so long as that failure persists," the Centre for Science in the Public Interest said in a statement Thursday.

  • East Van lesbian artist awarded Queen's medal

    Approximately 200 people filled the Heritage Hall in East Vancouver Jan 23 to honour the area’s Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal recipients. Among the recipients were lesbian human rights activist Ellen Woodsworth, and accomplished lesbian filmmaker Elaine Carol...“She does extraordinary work with youth at risk,” says Vancouver East MP Libby Davies, who distributed the medals. “You can tell that she loves the theatre and she loves empowering young people and she makes it, in many instances, a life-changing experience for them.” Carol “works day and night,” Davies continues. “She’s an amazing, dedicated cultural artist and producer in our community. She’s also a great queer activist in the community and the passion she brings to who she is, what she does, and how she empowers other people means a lot to the community. I’m very glad to have recognized her.”

  • The 13 biggest health and science questions facing the nation

    From climate change and fracking, to the role of the federal government in health care and a national independent science advisor: What do the Federal Health Minister and health critics of our major political parties think about the biggest health and science questions facing the nation? Maclean's Science-ish gathered questions from leading Canadian scientists, health researchers and health professionals, and put them to the Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, the Federal NDP Health Critic Libby Davies and Federal Liberal Health Critic Hedy Fry.

  • NDP health critic tables bill for national sodium strategy

    NDP health critic Libby Davies tabled a bill Monday encouraging Ottawa to enact a strategy requiring food manufacturers to lower sodium levels, among other tough-on-salt measures. The bill, formally named An Act Respecting the Implementation of the Sodium Reduction Strategy for Canada, will take its cues from a list of recommendations that were published by Health Canada in July 2010.

  • Will Aglukkaq scuttle latest effort to implement sodium-reduction plan?

    Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq will get another chance to run away from the recommendations of the government-led Sodium Working Group (SWG). Or, she could surprise us all and back a new bill to implement the group’s recommendations to reduce the sodium intake of Canadians. NDP health critic and deputy leader Libby Davies tabled her private member’s bill Monday. It’s straightforward: the health minister must implement the SWG’s Sodium Reduction Strategy, including establishing a monitoring system to track the progress of food companies.

  • NDP peppers feds for 'salt reduction strategy'

    NDP health critic Libby Davies introduced a private member's bill in the House of Commons Monday containing a raft of measures to help Canadians cut salt from their diet... "It's a very significant public health issue. There have been expert estimates that - especially if we base it on some of the U.S. for this, that anywhere from (10,000) to 16,000 deaths every year in Canada could be prevented if we had an adequate sodium reduction," Davies said. "So that's very significant and that's not counting the number of people who will encounter significant health problems, cardiovascular problems as a result of very high salt intake."

  • NDP launching health-care campaign

    The NDP is launching a campaign for health care in Canada, with plans to hold townhalls across the country to consult Canadians for their views on a list of priorities. "We're launching on a very ambitious campaign," Deputy Leader and health critic Libby Davies said at a press conference in Ottawa Thursday. "And we're going to go out and do what Stephen Harper is refusing to do, and that is to talk to Canadians about their concerns, about their ideas of our health-care system."

  • Forum focuses on health-care solutions

    Linked to NDP caucus meetings held in St. John’s this week, the official opposition in Ottawa hosted a public forum on health care Thursday evening in St. John’s looking at the system’s future in Canada. According to NDP health critic Libby Davies, her party’s goal is to make sure Canadians’ priorities are also government priorities when it comes to health care. In her estimation, the governing Conservative Party is not doing its job on that front.

  • One year later, still ‘hard to believe’ Jack Layton is gone

    A year after Jack Layton lost his battle with cancer, NDP deputy leader Libby Davies says his leadership still lives on in the party. “The work that Jack did, I mean, he gave a legacy not just to the NDP, but to all Canadians,” said the MP for Vancouver East over the phone from Toronto. “And that’s something that’s very much alive.”..“People can feel very cynical about politics and politicians,” said Davies. “And I think in Jack they saw someone who was constructive, who always looked for a way to propose what should be done instead of a way of deposing something.”

  • Vancouver remembers Jack Layton one year after his death

    Scores of people gathered outside the Vancouver Convention Centre on Wednesday evening to mark the first anniversary of former NDP leader Jack Layton’s death and celebrate the life of the man who led his party to official opposition status for the first time in its 50-year history...Earlier in the day, Vancouver East MP Libby Davies commented by phone from the larger-scale memorial outside Toronto city hall, where Layton had his political roots as a city councillor in the 1980s. “The compassion and the care that he had for people really came through in his politics and the way he worked with people,” she said over the strains of a memorial concert. “I really feel that he was like a mentor and a guide to us, to MPs and to Canadians generally.” Davies sat next to Layton in parliament for eight years as NDP house leader and then deputy leader.

  • Ottawa grades poorly in CMA’s annual report card on health care

    New Democrat MP and health-care critic Libby Davies said the poor report card reflects a broad failure on the part of the government to resolve the nationwide drug shortage, secure a long-term care solution and make progress on the $41-billion 2014 Health Accord signed eight years ago. “They’ve washed their hands of health care,” Davies said of the Conservatives. “They’ve basically walked away. That has dramatic and serious consequences, and it’s very clear from this survey Canadians have not only taken note of that, they feel very dissatisfied and concerned about it.”

  • Aglukkaq defends Ottawa’s hands-off role in health-care funding

    Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq delivered that unequivocal defence of Ottawa’s hands-off policy toward medicare in a speech Monday to the Canadian Medical Association general council meeting in Yellowknife. “Decision-making about health care is best left to the provincial, territorial and local levels,” she said. “As federal minister of health, I will not dictate to the provinces and territories how they will deliver services or set their priorities...”Libby Davies, health critic for the New Democratic Party, said the argument that Ottawa is merely respecting the provinces’ constitutional jurisdiction on health care is a cop-out. “Flexibility is a code word for lack of action, lack of leadership,” she said. “The federal government’s role is not just to provide money, but to ensure there is equity and fairness.”

  • Vancouver healing lodge opens after 10 years of work

    "Eddy had been collaborating on his healing lodge idea with Joe Wai, an architect with a lengthy track record of working with community groups in the neighbourhood. Wai got a phone call from NDP MP Libby Davies, who had been told by Conservative cabinet minister John Baird that he was looking for a “shovel-ready” project in the Downtown Eastside as part of the federal stimulus program. 'There’s a lot of serendipity with this building,” Eddy said. “Libby called Joe and yes, bingo! It’s one of those New Age meant-to-happen things if you believe in that stuff.'"