What do a Conservative, NDP, Liberal and Green candidate have in common? They're all Healthy Candidates.

TORONTO, May 20, 2014 /CNW/ - The Heart and Stroke Foundation is launching the Healthy Candidates campaign (HealthyCandidates.ca) to encourage all candidates to "go healthy" this election. This means candidates must agree to the Healthy Candidate commitment to have the government invest more to promote and support better health in Ontario.

The first Healthy Candidates campaign, which ran during the 2011 election, saw more than 86 per cent of the current legislature sign on to become Healthy Candidates.

With the official Healthy Candidates launch today, the Heart and Stroke Foundation is pleased to announce that four "Ambassadors" have agreed to sign on and lead the way for their respective parties. The Ambassadors (in alphabetical order) are Conservative MPP Christine Elliott, NDP, MPP France Gélinas, Liberal, MPP Deb Matthews and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner.

Each Ambassador has his or her own personal motivation for signing on and becoming a Healthy Candidate:

"As the Ontario PC Deputy Leader and Health Critic, I have witnessed first-hand the importance of one's personal investment in their health and wellness" said Christine Elliott, MPP for Whitby-Oshawa. "I would like to congratulate and thank the Heart and Stroke Foundation for their continued efforts and advocacy in promoting healthy lifestyles across Ontario".

"I spent 25 years in health care before becoming a politician" said France Gélinas, MPP for Nickel Belt. "I know firsthand the importance of health promotion and disease prevention. Even during an election campaign, the Hearth and Stroke Foundation continues to be leaders in health promotion. Great idea, great work!"

"I'm proud to be the Liberal ambassador for the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Healthy Candidates campaign. Working with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, I've seen what a difference health promotion and education makes in preventing heart disease. This campaign is a fantastic way to encourage Ontarians to live healthy, active lives."

"The Green Party of Ontario has always been committed to investing in community health programs and encouraging preventative health care," said Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario. "We need to be role models for our children and ensure they lead active lifestyles and have access to healthy foods. That's why I'm happy to be one of Heart and Stroke Foundation's Healthy Candidates."

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is looking to Ontario voters to play an integral role in this campaign by challenging their local candidates to "go healthy" and invest more in making Ontario a healthy place to live. As each candidate signs on, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and its local volunteers will celebrate with a congratulatory package, photo op, media promotion and social media outreach.

The Healthy Candidates campaign offers Ontarians a win-win proposition: voters get to challenge their candidates to take a specific action and the candidates are celebrated for accepting that challenge.

The campaign is off to a great start and in the few days following our online launch last week, more than 80 candidates have gone healthy. Ontarians can visit HealthyCandidates.ca to find out if their candidates have gone healthy too.  

"Ontario currently spends nearly 50 per cent of its budget on health care," says Tom McAllister, CEO, Ontario, Heart and Stroke Foundation. "That number will rise to 80 per cent by 2030 if we don't take action now. Up to 80 per cent of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable, so it is possible to reduce the impact of these diseases. With the Healthy Candidates campaign, we've taken a positive and fun election-style approach that brings together voters and candidates to help us achieve a healthier future for Ontario."

There are many ways to engage in and support the Healthy Candidates campaign. Voters can communicate directly with their local candidates via social media, 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 HealthyCandidates.ca.

SOURCE: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario

For further information: Alex Maheux, Associate Manager, Public Relations, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Phone: 647-943-3178, Email: amaheux@hsf.on.ca


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