The father of a 14-year-old Laval girl who died after reportedly consuming FCKD UP, a pre-mixed, high-alcohol drink until recently sold in dépanneurs across Quebec, was in Ottawa Monday to see an emergency motion passed that could lead to changes in how such drinks are sold.
The NDP laid the groundwork for an emergency study on the impact of sugary, sometimes caffeinated, high-alcohol drinks on teenagers and adults last week.
The motion was adopted in the House of Commons Monday — the same day that Health Canada announced public consultations into whether such drinks should be sold at all in their current format.
Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said those consultations could lead to a reduction in the percentage of alcohol allowed in the drinks or the format in which the pre-mixed beverages are sold.
Before travelling to Ottawa, the NDP MP for Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie, Alexandre Boulerice. told CBC Montreal’s Daybreak that the sale of such drinks is especially troubling for parents.
“I cannot image the pain of a father who lost their child because of a product sold in a dépanneur,” Boulerice said.
The findings of the study called for in the emergency motion are expected to be made to the House no later than June.
“I don’t think we can afford to wait years when it comes to regulating products that are clearly marketed towards young people and have enough alcohol in them to do serious damage,” NDP health critic Don Davies said Monday.
Athena Gervais died after she reportedly consumed FCKD UP, an 11.9 per cent alcohol malt-liqour drink, on her school lunch break. Her body was found on March 1, after days of searching.
The teen’s death brought such drinks under scrutiny in Quebec.
The provincial government announced it would move to ban the sale of pre-mixed malt-based beverages containing more than seven per cent alcohol from anywhere other than the SAQ, the provincial liquor outlets.