My knowledge of the process by which dozens, perhaps hundreds of government bills make their way through the Canadian House of Commons and/or the Senate each and every year is limited to not much more than this: I know that the bill numbers are 'recycled'. They have to be, otherwise it would become way too cumbersome.
When I first heard about Bill C-51 -- the current, extremely controversial (and, dare I say, anti-democratic) anti-terrorism bill -- I thought, "Hmmm, Bill C-51. That rings a bell." Vaguely recalling that it had something to do with tobacco, I googled "Bill C-51 tobacco"... and, sure enough, up popped a few links -- from 1988 -- to Bill C-51, which later became the Tobacco Products Control Act.
What a coincidence that, 27 years later, a so-called "anti-terrorism" bill would bear the same number.
More than a quarter of a century ago, anti-tobacco activists across the country, including Airspace, celebrated the enactment of the TPCA. Sadly, the party was short-lived, as (probably intentionally-created) loopholes -- big enough to drive tractor-trailers loaded with contraband cigarettes through -- were soon discovered.
Most notably, part of the TPCA was intended to end the sponsorship of sporting and cultural events by tobacco companies. Somewhat older readers will, no doubt, recall the Benson & Hedges Symphony of Fire, the du Maurier Jazz Festival, the Molson [read, Players] Indy, du Maurier Golf [and tennis], etc. More specifically, the rules allowed tobacco companies (Imperial Tobacco, RJR Macdonald, etc.) to sponsor those same events, the companies were simply prohibited from using brand names in connection with the events.
So, how did Big Tobacco respond to that? Well, they're not the least bit interested in having their company names out there; they want the cigarette brand names plastered everywhere, along with all of the cool and colourful images. So the companies simply created a whole bunch of new "companies"...'coincidentally' named after all the same brand names that were involved in all of the previous sponsorships! By simply adding the letters, "INC" or "LTD" after the brand names, we then had "Players LTD" racing, "du Maurier LTD" jazz, "Benson & Hedges INC" fireworks, etc.
However, I digress...
Gross and ugly and disgusting and tragic as any/all terrorism is -- whether it be ISIL, Al Qaida, other militant extremists or our very own homegrown terrorist wannabes, John Nuttall and Amanda Korody (aka, Laurel and Hardly... or The Two Stooges) -- the death toll from terrorism is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the death toll from tobacco.
Take the absolute worst terrorist attack in history -- 9/11 -- for example. About 3,000 people died that day (September 11, 2001), as hijacked planes slammed into buildings and hit the ground.
Globally, that same day -- AND EVERY SINGLE DAY SINCE THEN -- more than 5 times that number of people (yes, almost 16,000 people) were/are killed by tobacco! And roughly 10% of that tragic toll was then -- and still is, now -- non-smokers, exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke!
Again, I am NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, condoning terrorism. Nor am I suggesting that it does not require a swift and decisive response. And yes, I know: No sane person 'volunteers' to be a victim of terrorism. Well, despite all of the "freedom" and "choice" crap we continue to hear from the peddlers of the most addictive drug known (nicotine) -- Big Tobacco and all of its well-paid puppets -- when you really think about it, nobody freely/willingly chooses or 'volunteers' to smoke either!
While many people -- especially tobacco executives and their puppets (including London Drugs COO Clint Mahlman, mentioned in a few of the articles below, re getting tobacco products out of pharmacies) -- would be quick to point out all of the differences between tobacco and terrorism, the similarities far outweigh the differences.
Okay, just to give Big Tobacco the benefit of the doubt, let me see if I can think of some differences between tobacco and terrorism.
Hmmm, nothing yet... give me a couple of minutes, okay?
Oh yah, Important Distinction Between Tobacco and Terrorism #1: Terrorists are generally very proud of their 'achievements'... and they're honest... and very quick to claim responsibility for the havoc (death and destruction) that they wreak upon completely innocent people. Tobacco executives: Not so much. Their comment is usually an indignant, "No comment!" and, on those extremely rare occasions when they're forced to speak, most of what comes out of their yaps is denial and/or lies (remember all those tobacco execs who swore, under oath, that "nicotine is not addictive"???)... and if they're pushed too hard, they simply threaten to sue...and that usually has the desired affect on whoever's going after them, up to and including national governments! (See the John Oliver video elsewhere on this site)
But, as I alluded to before, the single biggest difference between tobacco and terrorism: The death toll!
I'll be brutally honest: I have no clue how many people have been killed by terrorism over the last 27 years. I can tell you, however, that tobacco, over that same period of time, has killed about 162 million people...again, about 10% of that horrific toll -- 16.2 million people -- being non-smokers, exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke!
Sort of makes you wonder who the real terrorists are, doesn't it?
Population control is desperately needed on this planet: We just want to know who appointed Big Tobacco to be in charge of that!
Please, join Airspace in our efforts to run Big Tobacco (including all illegal tobacco operations) OUT OF BUSINESS!
Errol E. Povah