The annual Vancouver-based anti-bullying event -- otherwise known as Pink Shirt Day -- actually condones bullying...and all of the sponsors are complicit!
"While sponsors have come and gone over the years, CKNW and Global TV BC -- and London Drugs -- have remained throughout...and we take huge issue with London Drugs' involvement", Airspace Action on Smoking and Health President Errol Povah said.
Background info regarding the College of Pharmacists of B.C.'s proposed bylaw (which would've ended the sale of tobacco products from pharmacies in B.C., the last province/territory in the country to do so), and the bullying and threatening response from "The Tobacco Six" (lead by LD Pres and COO Clint Mahlman), etc. is available here on the Airspace site.
It was challenging to pick a headline for this article...there are just so many to choose from. For example, for the 5th or 6th year in a row, the Airspace activists protesting the event -- at-- the London Drugs "Plaza" (a large, open area in front of the main entrance of the store, at the corner of Granville & Georgia) -- might've been more accurately described as the proverbial, "Elephant in the room" or, more accurately, "The herd of elephants on the plaza!"
Or "The Silence is Deafening", regarding the response we got after contacting all of the sponsors (about this blatant hypocrisy) well in advance of the event.
The protest -- including our handouts (detailing why we were there) and our big signs (see attached pictures) -- could've also been described as, "An Inconvenient Truth".
Or how about, "Tragic, yet hilarious!"
Or "Bu$ine$$ A$ U$ual...or, "Maintaining the $tatu$ quo at any and all co$t$".
Last but not least, there's, "Corporate Bullying is Alive and Well at Pink Shirt Day!"
Notwithstanding the tragedy that tobacco is (as of today [Feb 29, 2020], the average daily [global] death toll from COVID-19 -- since the first death on January 11 -- stands at 60, while to toll for tobacco is 20,000, about 1,500 of whom are non-smokers, killed by secondhand tobacco smoke...and the World Health Organization is seriously considering describing COVID-19 a "pandemic"), our PSD protests -- and the response to them, by the organizers/participants -- are hilarious!
"There's no question whatsoever that London Drugs is a corporate bully", the head of the world's leading all-volunteer anti-tobacco/anti-nicotine organization said. "And, given all of the 'embarrassment' that we bring to the event, it's hard to understand why PSD/CKNW/Global doesn't dump London Drugs. But, on the lighter side..."
There's one fellow in particular (we'll call him Jorge, since Jorge Araya, pres and CEO of Imperial Tobacco Canada, would be very proud of him) whose job becomes, for the duration of our protest, to tell everyone who accepts one of our handouts that, "These people are not affiliated with Pink Shirt Day"...to which Povah reminds both Jorge and the person he just spoke to, "Yah, we're not selective when it comes to opposing bullying, we oppose all of it!"
In addition to CKNW (we were standing not more than 30 or 40 feet in front of Simi Sera, a morning talk show host) and Global, there was other media as well. They were very busy taking pictures, shooting video and doing interviews. They went to great trouble to avoid taking pictures of us, even if we were just in the background so, finally, Povah approached both a reporter for Global and a photographer with one of Vancouver's major newspapers...and "volunteered" to do an interview with them. The stuttering and stammering was incredible, basically telling him they were "busy", they had "other things to do", etc.
The public response to the protest was amazing, especially all of the honking dump trucks! There was a construction project nearby...and large dump trucks passed our location every 5 or 10 minutes. Povah, displaying the "HONK to end corporate bullying!" sign, signaled to the truckers to honk...and many of them did. The general silence in the area was deafening, but after the loud honking, Povah would shout, "Yet another honk to end corporate bullying!"
And the fire truck on the scene (supporting PSD) provided Povah with an opportunity to remind everyone that, in addition to all of the other nasty facts about tobacco, smouldering cigarettes continue to be the leading cause of residential fire fatalities.