This is, to start with, a "good news" story. A court in Quebec ruled in favour of Olesia Koretski, a landlord who had a problem with a smoking tenant.

The case was actually pretty cut and dried. The words "no smokers" were clearly visible on a form filled out by the tenant as part of the lease application, but the tenant proceeded to smoke pretty much non-stop after moving in on August 1, 2006.

You can read a story about this by Jan Ravensbergen in the Montreal Gazette here: Final bell sounds in smoking battle. This article, however, leaves an important issue unresolved: Who paid for the legal costs of the tenant, Sandra Fowler?

The article mentioned mychoice.ca and its tobacco-industry-appointed President, Arminda Mota. It also mentioned that mychoice.ca was funded with $2.5 million from the tobacco industry (a lot of money for a web site), but didn't mention that the tobacco industry is the sole source of funding for mychoice.ca.

Most important, neither Mota, Fowler, or anyone in the tobacco industry was willing to confirm or deny whether the tobacco industry paid Ms. Fowler's legal expenses.

The public, especially members of the public who are landlords, need to know this. If landlords run the risk of going up against the tobacco industry every time they rent an apartment to someone, it becomes "the cost of doing business". And asthmatic and pregnant women such as Ms. Koretski have the right to know that the tobacco industry regards them as targets.

So, if you're an investigative reporter, make some phone calls. You might have better luck with getting answers than Jan Ravensbergen did.

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