"The Philip Morris executives I know... are enlightened people who understand and acknowledge the possible hazards of smoking." Billie Jean King, December 2,1993. Possible, Billie Jean? (She is a member of the Philip Morris/Altria board of directors.)

Chronology

  • 1985: Sport Canada establishes a policy that organizations that receive tobacco industry funding are ineligible for Federal government funding. Tennis Canada responds by setting up a shell company which runs the Canadian Open, and launders money from Imperial Tobacco to Tennis Canada.
  • 1989: The Federal tobacco act of 1988 bans tobacco advertising. Imperial T obacco violates the Act's intent by setting up shell companies named Players Ltd. and du Maurier Ltd. Their sponsorship of the Canadian Open continues under these phony corporate ent ities.
  • July, 1992: A multi-page colour magazine spread, with a Player's ad on the second page, appears in MacLean's. The title is "The New Kids of Tennis." What a great slogan for selling cigarettes.
  • September, 1992: Canada's Davis Cup team needs to defeat Austria in order to stay in the Davis Cup World Group. Canada attempts to stack the deck by constructing grass courts in North Vancouver. The ploy failed. The grass courts created more problems for Canada's players than for Austria's. Canada has not been in the World Group since.
  • July, 1993: Another multi-page advertising spread for Imperial Tobacco and Tennis Canada appears in MacLean's. This time, the Canadian Open is identified as "Matinee Ltd." instead of "Player's Ltd.", probably because Matinee is a brand targeted toward women.
    There's a sad irony in the slogan, "The sport of a lifetime." I haven't encountered very many people over the age of 40 that both smoke and play tennis, and I doubt that any of them smoke Matinee.
  • 1994: A Canadian Open promoter pays a $60,000 US "appearance fee" (i.e. bribe) to Steffi Graf in order for her to compete in the Canadian Open. Such bribes are in violation of the rules that govern professional tennis, but no punitive action was taken. Source: Globe and Mail, Sept. 23, 1996
  • 1996: $20 million of taxpayers' money goes into a renovation of Jarry Stad ium in Montreal, one of the two Canadian Open venues. Imperial Tobacco kicks in a few thousand dollars at the last minute, and gets the stadium re-christened "Stade du Maurier".

    Is it "Jarry Park"? Or "Stade du Maurier"? Depends on the audience.

  • 1996: Television coverage on TSN identifies the tournament as "du Maurier Open" instead of "Canadian Open".
  • 1996: Rent-a-cops hired by Imperial Tobacco confiscate anti-tobacco literature from York University students protesting outside the du Maurier Open. (They were actually in the street, not on York University/National Tennis Centre property.) Remember this the next time you hear the terms "nicotine nazis" or "anti-smoking fascists."
  • 1996: During the awards ceremony at the womens' tournament in Montreal, RCMP officers are present in dress uniforms, contrary to RCMP policy. When RCMP Commissioner Phillip Murray is confronted about it, he says that the Mounties are promoting tennis, not cigarettes.
  • 1996: The tobacco industry sets up the "Alliance for Sponsorship Freedom", a front group for opposing sponsorship restrictions. Tennis Canada joins it.
  • December 9, 1996: Bob Moffat, President and CEO of Tennis Canada, and Richard Legendre and Jane Wynne, tournament directors for Tennis Canada, appear before the House of Commons Health Committee. Moffat says, "Tennis Canada is mindful of and sensitive to the health issues regarding tobacco use and its effects, particularly for young people," but gushes over how wonderful those Imperial Tobacco people are. He claims that Imperial Tobacco-funded youth programs are a deterrent to tobacco use.
    He says, "The government has failed to produce evidence that tobacco sponsorship is a factor or a problem in the ongoing war on tobacco use." If this were true, it would violate every known principle of advertising. He and Legendre discreetly refer to Stade du Maurier as "Jarry Park Tennis Centre." One of the committee members, Joseph Volpe (Lib-Eglinton-Lawrence), to his credit, picked up on this.
    Wynne says, "I have to say that I cannot believe that one child coming to this event would start smoking because of the red and black colour scheme or because of the du Maurier banners." I guess nobody told her about Imperial Tobacco's market studies on children as young as five. The attractiveness of the red and black colour scheme she refers to could well be the reason why the name of the tournament was changed from Player's/Matinee to du Maurier.
    Click here to see the complete testimony.
  • 1997: A freedom of information request by Physicians for a Smoke-Free Cana da reveals that $392,000 of taxpayers' money has been given to Tennis Canada during FY 1997-1998, funding that nobody controls.
  • 1997: CBC news stories by Rick Cluff and Michael Enright on tobacco sponsorship present exactly one side of this issue, the tobacco industry's, dutifully parroted by Bob Moffat and Richard Legendre.
  • March 4, 1997: In a last-ditch effort to prevent passage of changes to the Tobacco Act that would eliminate tobacco sponsorships, the Bloc Quebecois arranges for a tobacco party in the Hall of Honour of the Canadian Parliament building. Legendre is among the participants.
  • April 3, 1997: Richard Legendre and Jane Wynne appear before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. Legendre says, "We will not attract a world-class field of competitors and we will cease to be a world-class event." None of the committee members said, "So what?" Every time I hear the words "world class", I reach for the barf bag.
    When asked by Sen. Colin Kenny (Lib-Ontario) why all of the advertising uses the name "du Maurier Open" instead of "Canadian Open", Legendre's response is "That is the name of the event."
    Click here to see the complete testimony.
  • 1997: Tennis Canada's Web site contains so much tobacco advertising that they find it necessary to post an "adults only" warning at the entrance.
  • June 3, 1998: Federal Minister of Health Allan Rock introduces Bill C-42, which delays restrictions on tobacco sponsorships for another two years. Moffat's reaction? "The government has stepped up to the plate and certainly given us some breathing space and we're grateful."
  • August, 1998: The words "Canadian Open" disappear from all marketing of the Toronto and Montreal tournaments; The coverage on TSN, CTV, and Tennis Canada's Web page.
  • April 23, 1999: Tennis Canada announces a new sponsorship arrangement with ISL Worldwide for the men's event. The announcement stated that the name of the event will revert to "Canadian Open" (contradicting the statement made on April 3, 1997; see above) after the summer of 1999. The women's event, which is not part of the ISL deal, will continue to be the "du Maurier Open" in 2000, and the "Stade du Maurier" sign will stay up at least until October 1, 2003.
    Moffat didn't miss this opportunity to suck up to Imperial Tobacco again. "I'd like to thank Imperial Tobacco and notably Don Brown and Jean-Paul Blais, who have supported our men's and women's championships to more than 20 years. The players and officials of the ATP Tour acknowledge our tournaments as being among the best in the world, and that's largely due to the support of Imperial Tobacco and our other sponsors.
    "Imperial Tobacco has invested more that $100 million in our sport over the period, and Tennis Canada and the tournaments wouldn't be where they are today without their extraordinary commitment."
  • August 22, 1999: Once again, a dress-uniformed Mountie is present at the awards ceremony of the womens' du Maurier Open. (This time, it's in Toronto.) The winner, Martina Hingis, started flirting with him, saying "I do love your boots". A picture of her, the RCMP officer, and the matching red du Maurier sign appeared in several newspapers.
    This incident has drawn the attention of Sen. Kenny (see April 3, 1997), who has spoken to the Commissioner about it and followed up with a letter.
  • August 14-20, 2000: "Government of Canada" signs are displayed prominently next to "du Maurier" signs at the womens' du Maurier Open in Montreal.
  • August 19, 2000: Tennis Canada anounces that Rogers/AT&T will take over as the sponsor of the womens' Canadian Open.
  • 2001: Sponsorship of the mens' Canadian Open is taken over by the Tennis Masters Series.

Why This is a Problem

B.A.T./Imperial Tobacco is arguably the most dishonest corporate citizen on this planet. They deny, for public consumption, that they target children in their marketing, that they add ammonia to cigarettes, and that they use genetically-enhanced tobacco. Their own corporate documents, made public in State of Minnesota vs. Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds et al, prove that they are lying. They deny that they were involved in cigarette smuggling, but a Brown and Williamson executive, Michael Bernstein, was convicted in the U.S. for this, and he testified during his trial that Imperial Tobacco executives supervised every step of the smuggling process. B.A.T.'s CEO, Martin Broughton, doesn't smoke cigarettes, and says that he doesn't want his children to smoke cigarettes, either. (He wants other peoples' children to smoke cigarettes.)

Heads should also roll over the christening of "Stade du Maurier". The use of tax money to put up a cigarette advertising billboard is totally unacceptable.

Why I've done this

I've been playing tennis since I was 12 years old. I enjoy the sport because it's a healthy, aerobic activity, and because of the values of sportsmanship the sport has traditionally encouraged. The idea of tennis being used as a marketing tool for the tobacco in dustry is, in my opinion, one of the greatest abominations on this planet.


From my high school yearbook, 1967

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003 Robert Broughton and Airspace Action on Smoking and Health

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