Heart and Stroke Foundation engages thousands with Healthy Candidates campaign

NEARLY 70% OF ALL CANDIDATES PLEDGE ACTION ON HEALTH PROMOTION - UNPRECEDENTED CAMPAIGN CROSSES PARTY LINES

TORONTO, Sept. 29, 2011 /CNW/ - Blue, Green, Orange, Red, they are all 'going healthy'. The Healthy Candidates social media campaign (a first for the Heart and Stroke Foundation) is making history and engaging thousands of Ontario voters. It is a 'never been done before' success with a friendly, non-partisan spin.

To date, a remarkable 292 candidates have 'gone healthy' this election. They have committed to invest more to promote and support better health in Ontario. At the same time, more than 3,800 voters have taken an active part - challenging their local candidates to "go healthy" via an online site (www.HealthyCandidates.ca).

The campaign has surpassed all expectations. With 7 days left before the election, nearly 70 percent of all candidates have signed up. It's a powerful demonstration of political will made even more remarkable by the cross-partisan nature of the support - every party now has more than 43 percent of candidates signed on and the number grows every day.

"The unprecedented success of this campaign demonstrates that health promotion is an issue that transcends party politics," said Tom McAllister, Chief Operating Officer, Ontario, Heart and Stroke Foundation. "When campaigns highlight what separates each party there is rarely consensus. With Healthy Candidates, each party recognizes that we must do more and that this is a vital priority for Ontario voters."

On September 13, the Heart and Stroke Foundation launched the Healthy Candidates campaign by announcing the four campaign Ambassadors, who agreed to sign on and lead the way for their respective political parties. The campaign's Ambassadors (in alphabetical order) are Conservative MPP Christine Elliott, NDP MPP France Gélinas, Liberal MPP Eric Hoskins and Green Party candidate Judy Smith Torrie.

"Ontario currently spends nearly 50 percent of its budget on health care," added McAllister, "that number will rise to 80 per cent by 2030.  We must take action now and the Healthy Candidates campaign is an essential first step."

HOW ONTARIANS CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE HEALTHY CANDIDATES CAMPAIGN:
There are many ways to engage in and support the campaign. Voters can communicate directly with their local candidates via social media tools, phone or email; candidates can pledge to become Healthy Candidates by going to our website. For additional information, voters and candidates are encouraged to visit www.HealthyCandidates.ca. The campaign runs until October 6.

SOURCE HEART AND STROKE FOUNDATION OF CANADA

For further information:

Tonya Johnson
Sr. Associate Manager, Media Relations
Heart and Stroke Foundation
Phone: 416-489-7111 ext. 353
Email: tjohnson@hsf.on.ca

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HEART AND STROKE FOUNDATION OF CANADA

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