An ounce of prevention

I ran in the Terry Fox event in Quesnel this year. It’s part of my effort to stop “decaying.”

I ran in the Terry Fox event in Quesnel this year. It’s part of my effort to stop “decaying.”

You see, my wife read a book to me this summer that claims that after 50 you start decaying unless you’re very deliberate about your diet and exercise.

And I thought my increasingly achy, overweight body was simply an unavoidable side effect of my life as an ageing politician.

Not so, according to my wife’s summer reading. So I’m committed to exercising my body and watching my diet in an effort to enjoy the rest of my second half-century as “decay” free as possible. I guess the old adage of an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” still holds true. Speaking of which, thoughts about my own decay made me reflect on the cure-oriented focus of the Terry Fox run, Relay for Life, and other cancer fundraisers that are spread throughout the year. These events have raised enormous amounts of money and funded significant research leading to improved diagnostics, treatments and cures for a wide array of cancers. Many Canadians have benefitted greatly from these efforts. But cancer rates continue to rise. Recently, there’s been more focus on prevention. For example, the Canadian Cancer Society has been lobbying the B.C. government to put more controls on access to tobacco products and for a province-wide ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides and herbicides, which are known carcinogens. There are many known cancer-causing agents in our environment that ought to be outright banned or regulated more stringently. The reason these chemicals aren’t banned or more controlled is mostly due to strong industry and corporate lobbies that are not countered by citizens’ efforts to protect public health.

This past spring NDP Leader Adrian Dix introduced a private members bill to ban cosmetic pesticides throughout B.C. and Premier Christy Clark responded by establishing a legislative committee to examine the issue and make recommendations to the legislature. Kudos to both leaders for tackling this issue together. However, for this committee to be successful, we will have to start putting as much effort into pushing government in the direction of prevention as we have in raising money to find a cure.

Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA Cariboo North.

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