Ever since I can remember I've heard the comment that there is "no difference" between Canadians and Americans. I respectfully beg to differ as there is a difference on so many levels! We have unique Canadian culture consisting of Canadianisms, a Canadian perspective on world events, Canadian cuisine as well as products and foods only available in Canada. This blog is dedicated to celebrating all things Canadian from "my perspective" as a Canadian. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to visit often.

Garden Gnome
Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.
- Pierre Trudeau

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Alberta Will Sue Tobacco Companies

Alberta Justice Minister Alison Redford announced the province's intentions to file a statement of claim against tobacco companies within the next 12 months on Monday (October 25, 2010).  This brings the count to four Canadian provinces filing a lawsuit against the tobacco industry to help recover some of the health-care costs of treating smokers.  Provinces that have already filed lawsuits are British Columbia, Ontario and New Brunswick1.

My gosh, from this Canadian's perspective this really does open up a whole can of worms!  While the tobacco industry is responsible to some degree for advertising and glorifying the use of tobacco products they cannot be held solely responsible for the use of those products.  Tobacco products have been in use in Canada well before Canada's confederation, well before tobacco companies were established and quite frankly if all the tobacco companies went out of business the use of tobacco products would continue.   Individuals have the responsibility to make informed decisions as to what products they will or will not use.  The warnings against using tobacco products have been out for more than a couple of decades and yet that doesn't stop people from using them.  The taxes have been increasing on tobacco products driving the price upwards and that doesn't stop people from using them.

In short the provinces should not be going after just the tobacco industry.  They should be seeking a way of holding tobacco users accountable for their use of tobacco products AND they should specifically target those who have in any way affected the health of others through exposure to their secondary tobacco smoke.  To play devil's advocate here another thing to consider is just exactly what are these provinces going to do if they suddenly find themselves not getting the tobacco tax revenue?  Well you can bet your bottom dollar that they will come after the taxpayers to recover that loss.  They will come after the taxpayers to cover the costs of the actual lawsuits that will likely be very long, very drawn out and very costly.  It doesn't help that the cards are stacked in favour of the tobacco industry as well.  Lawsuits will not be effective at getting those who smoke to quit or prevent those who don't smoke from starting either.

This is one battle the provinces involved would be well advised to not even tackle.  The money would be better spent on smoking educational programs especially at an earlier age, smoking cessation programs, more smoking bans, higher medical insurance premiums for smokers and any other way possible to discourage smoking.  Lawsuits are not the answer in this case!


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