Are you sure, John?
Are you sure, John?
In November of 2007, NDP MLA Leonard Krog tabled a private members' bill calling for a ban on smoking in vehicles carrying children. Your response at that time was, "British Columbians aren't ready for such a ban."
Three short months later, via the recent Throne Speech, we learned that the B.C. Liberals now support such a ban, although we're still patiently waiting to hear critical details...i.e., the maximum age of a 'child' (16? 18? 19?), the implementation date, penalties for violations, etc. By the way, in terms of enforcement, this ban could easily be enforced in conjunction with existing police duties/policies (routine traffic stops, etc.)... especially seatbelt checks.
On February 12, 2007, I issued a call for the total eradication of the tobacco industry from the face of the planet.
In addition to being the top story on the homepage of the Airspace website, press releases were sent out, worldwide. I also repeated the call on several subsequent radio talk shows...and in [published] letters to the editor, etc.
The response: Literally dozens of good, positive and supportive comments...to ZERO negative comments.
In addition, I issued a challenge, to anyone, to debate any and all tobacco control issues, up to and including the total eradication of the tobacco industry. Again, ZERO response!
One would think that our detractors -- including the tobacco industry itself, as well as its many well-paid puppets -- would be chomping at the bit to debate the issue, but not a peep out of any of them! So I decided to issue a few personal challenges. The list of detractors I contacted, directly, is long and...well, not terribly distinguished (in fact, extinguished is much more appropriate). Just a few of the more high-profile tobacco whores I contacted and challenged to debate:
- Nancy Daigneault, former president of mychoice.ca, Canada's biggest "smokers' rights" group, established and funded -- to the tune of at least $2.5 million (that we know about) -- by Imperial Tobacco. Despite initially claiming that she was ready, willing and able to debate the issue with anyone, anywhere and any time, over a period of several months, her office claimed she was "too busy", then she had a child, then she was just "too busy"...again...and again...and again!;
Excerpt: "The no-smoking bandwagon is rolling toward Squamish, with civic staff told to investigate the feasibility of prohibiting smokers from lighting up at home if children are present.
"The consideration is part of an overall no-smoking motion -- suggested by Coun. Raj Kahlon last December -- that also includes banning smokers from lighting up in vehicles where children are present and in public places such as bus shelters."
Excerpt: "The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has agreed to hear the case of a woman who claims she has been the victim of discrimination because housing authorities wouldn't provide her with smoke-free public housing.
"Sheila Abraham is on a disability pension for a number of conditions and has been diagnosed with hyper-reactive airway disease, which is caused and exacerbated by second-hand smoke, according to a complaint filed with the tribunal."
The 100th anniversary festivities for Imperial Tobacco turned sour yesterday. The company cancelled its public event, the government disassociated itself from the event, and it was ultimately a demonstration by anti-tobacco groups that marked the centenary.
On Thursday, the St. Henri-based enterprise announced in a press release that Marguerite Blais, Minister for Seniors and Member of the National Assembly for Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne would attend the next day to take part in the unveiling of an ice sculpture to mark the 100 years of the company. None of that took place.
First, Mme. Blais cancelled her participation, then the weather conditions forced cancellation of the unveiling of the sculpture. (It was 2 degrees Celsius and raining yesterday afternoon in Montreal.)
According to Imperial Tobacco, a scheduling conflict forced Mme. Blais to cancel. However, at the minister's office, Le Devoir was told it was a question of principle and good judgment that dictated the decision.
Even if she could have attended, Mme. Blais would not have taken part in the ceremony, her press attaché, Christiane Chaillé, explained. "Mme. Blais supports all the government's positions with respect to tobacco control," said Mme. Chaillé.
It appears it was the riding office of Mme. Blais that accepted the invitation without informing the cabinet office. The latter gave assurances that it would never have agreed to having the Minister for Seniors take part in a celebration organized by a leading tobacco products company.
The Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control (CQCT) figures that the minister would have been playing with fire in showing up for the event. "It would have been a completely contradictory message," argued Louis Gauvin, spokesman for the group.
The coalition organized a demonstration yesterday in front of the head office of Imperial Tobacco, accompanied by Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. "We find it revolting that a tobacco company celebrates its anniversary with balloons and cheers," said M. Gauvin.
"For us, the only real contribution by Imperial Tobacco is the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Canada in the last 100 years, the illness, the suffering, the deceit, the hiding of information. They've done everything in their power to maintain the privilege of marketing an essentially deadly product. There's nothing to celebrate here."
Imperial Tobacco has been located in the South-West of Montreal since its beginnings. The headquarters have been located next to the factory site for the past five years. In a press release sent out yesterday, the company justified its decision to celebrate its centenary in public due its respect for "the most rigorous norms of social responsibility" and the role it has played over the years in "the evolution of the artistic, cultural and sporting heritage, fashion and community services."
Since 2000, the company has belonged to British American Tobacco (BAT).
Original article en francais: Enterrement de premiére classe pour le 100e anniversaire d'Imperial Tobacco
Editor, National Post;
With the publication of If you won't shoot, don't Taser by George Jonas (Nov. 24), the public discussion of the relationship of tobacco with death and disease has gone full circle.
People in Denial about this relationship have put considerable energy in identifying alternative causes for the many illnesses caused by tobacco; chlorine in swimming pools, x-rays, increased radiation in the environment, even n "bad karma'. To relate just one of many cases I am familiar with, Californian Mary Herrin chose to identify her doctor as the cause of her two heart attacks, instead of her cigarette habit; Ms. Herrin died at the age of 58.
What Mr. Jonas has now given us, based on what he calls his own "mini-inquiry", is that the death of Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver airport was caused by Dziekanski's cigarette habit, not by over-eager use of tasers by the police. Jonas, however, was not willing to blame Dziekanski for his own addiction to cigarettes. Nor was he willing to blame the manufacturers of the cigarettes Dziekanski consumed, even though those manufacturers lied to the public for many years about the adverse effects of their products, including the addictive nature of them.
Instead, Jonas chose to blame "Big Nanny".
This is silly nonsense. No 'nanny", big or small, deprived Dziekanski of the ability to communicate in either of Canada's official languages. No nanny separated him from the relatives he was supposed to meet at the airport. No nanny caused him to "create a disturbance", attracting the attention of the police. No nanny caused the police to over-react.
George Jonas may well be looking for a big nanny to change his diapers for him. Good luck with finding a volunteer.