A JTI-Macdonald Corp. Initiative. (It’s always best to see both sides.)
(It’s always best to see both sides.) A JTI-Macdonald Corp. Initiative.

03 Civil Liberties vs Eroding Civil Rights

Is the federal government taking civil liberties?

In a free, democratic society, everyone should have the same freedoms, the same choices, and an expectation that the federal government will act on evidence. Yet, this isn’t always the case.

As a Canadian, you have the power to make your own choice. It’s enshrined in the Canadian Constitution under Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In R v Clay, 20031, the court described this personal liberty as, “the core of what it means to be an autonomous human being blessed with dignity and independence in matters that can be characterized as fundamentally or inherently personal.”

Civil-Liberties-vs-Eroding-Civil-Rights

The right of choice is, of course, a personal one, and Section 7 outlines clearly that these rights are between you and the government. How can a fair and democratic country be allowed to suppress or entirely remove these rights? Yet, this is exactly what is happening with the decision to implement a plain packaging strategy without proper consultation.

Being able to smoke is not the same as a right to choice

There is no evidence to suggest that smokers started because of a brand or trademark. However, the new proposals are limiting choice and making smokers feel like pariahs when they purchase tobacco products. Many feel they are being unduly persecuted.

Smokers can think for themselves. They are not fools. Yet they are being treated as though they need to be protected from their own decisions. Limiting choice treats smokers with contempt, and there are far better ways to have the desired effect the federal government is after that don’t have unintended consequences for both smokers and the wider society.

Worse still is the fact that people’s voices are being ignored in the debate. Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression are fundamental to what it means to be Canadian.

This is an infringement on people’s rights. This is a policy to silence a significant group. This goes against what it means to be Canadian. This is definitely personal.

Tell the government what you think by emailing your MP.


1 Supreme Court. (2003). Supreme Court Judgements, R v. Clay. Available at: Click here to view URL accessed 19 July 2016.

2 Wikipedia Section Two of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Available at: Click here to view URL accessed 19 July 2016.


 

Health Canada has made its decision on plain packaging clear

The policy on plain packaging was part of the Liberal government’s platform before it came to power, stated that:

“To help Canadian children avoid and manage known health risks, we will increase funding to the Public Health Agency of Canada by CAD$15 million in each of the next two years, to support a national strategy to increase vaccination rates and raise awareness for parents, coaches, and athletes on concussion treatment. This will be based on the best science and will support existing provincial and territorial efforts.

“We will introduce plain packaging requirements for tobacco products, similar to those in Australia and the United Kingdom.”1

Minister of Health, Jane Philpott, told reporters in Ottawa when the consultation period was launched on World No Tobacco Day in May 2016, “There’s no question about whether we are going to proceed with plain packaging regulations. We want to know how best to do it.”2

The consultation was available online3 for members of the public, and a tender was released requesting further consultation on the potential measures for regulating the appearance, shape and size of tobacco packages and of tobacco products4.

Tell the government what you think by emailing your MP.


1 Liberal Party. (2015). Healthier Kids. Available at: Click here to view Last accessed 25 July 2016

2 Kirkup, K. (2016). Feds move forward on plain packaging for tobacco products. Toronto Sun. Available at: Click here to view Last accessed 25 July 2016

3 Government of Canada. (2016). Consultation on “Plain and Standardized Packaging” for Tobacco Products; Potential measures for regulating the appearance, shape and size of tobacco packages and of tobacco product. Available at: Click here to view Last accessed 25 July 2016

4 Public Works and Government Services Canada. (2016). Cost-benefit analysis of the plain packaging of tobacco products (1000179835). Tender Notice. Available at: Click here to view Last accessed 25 July 2016

 

Welcome to the ‘Both sides of the argument’ website.

Debating the proposed policy on tobacco packaging in Canada

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Research

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