Real cases, real people

Here’s a real case in the courts with real people we have been following since it began – the case of Bob Gee and Mader’s tobacco store. We sympathise and side with Mr. Gee not because we smoke or encourage smoking but because he is absolutely correct in defending his rights , and in so doing he defends ours.

How often does he and we have to say it. Tobacco is a legal product. The state  has no right to restrict the conditions of sale so much that the product must be invisible.  This is what Mr. Gee’s lawyer, Curtis Palmer, is arguing, along with basing the defense on the Charter.

Referring to the increasing restrictions on the sale of tobacco, Palmer said “it has gotten to the point where the camel’s nose in not only in the tent, but the whole camel is in the tent.”

And it won’t stop here. It is the thin edge of a very large wedge. Give an inch and other “special interests” will take a mile. The next thing we might be asked to do is to ban the sale of pets as they are considering doing in San Francisco [yes really!]. After all –

“People buy small animals all the time as an impulse buy, don’t know what they’re getting into, and the animals end up at the shelter and often are euthanized,”… “That’s what we’d like to stop.” [They say they would make an exception for fish – but how long would that last!?]

And Wolfville is the San Francisco of the north.

Mr. Gee and his lawyer intend to go all the way to the Supreme Court if need be, and we hope he does.

“This issue has legs,” said Palmer. “It had wide-ranging consequences for all vendors in the province . . . and it probably has a fair number of proceedings in front of it yet.”

The Cancer Society [which we refuse to donate to because they spend their time and money on this kind of lunatic advocacy instead of on research like they should] responded this way:

“… Mader’s is the only tobacco store in the province that is in violation of the regulations.

“We now have all 10 provinces and territories in Canada that have adopted legislation to ban visible displays . . . and compliance across the province has been excellent,”

Compliance under Franco and Mao was pretty good too. Doesn’t make it right.

“It’s about making sure that we continue to reduce tobacco use and create a healthier province.”

No it isn’t. If that were what they really cared about they would ban the product. And if they cared about children being seduced by advertising they would restrict the display of alcoholic and gambling products to the same extent.

This is about government control versus freedom. And anyone who cares about the latter better pay attention.

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4 responses to “Real cases, real people

  1. Might I suggest that prohibition will always be doomed to failure. We need only look at the disaster caused by our “war on drugs” to see that. In my fathers generation, it was alcohol that was prohibited. Back then they didn’t call it a “war on alcohol” because the politicians of the time were too busy cooking up real wars.

    Prohibition does not work because it is a denial of our human character — indeed, it is a denial of animal behaviour in general (for an elementary treatment, read “The Third Chimpanzee, by J Diamond”).

    As a society, we have gone about as far as it is possible to go by beating each other over the head with dopey regulations. Law has its limits. Nowadays, it seems that every political dope wants to have his/her personal bias enshrined in legislation. The law has far too many tendrils — we’re being suffocated.

  2. We agree with you. We don’t think tobacco should be banned anymore than pets. Such things are a matter of persuasion, education and societal “norms”. But the refusal to do so – while they spout platitudes about the health of citizens- is galling. If they were honest, which they aren’t, they would at least say we can’t afford to lose the taxes we rake in on this product. The advertising ban is meant only to fool the populace into a false sense that they are “doing something.” They should at least know that we see through the duplicity.

  3. This should absolutely be a non issue. I agree that if tobacco is legal, it should be visible in a tobacco store. (see my letter in Maclean’s Sept. 7th, 2009 , which referred to Kentville as Kensington showing their ignorance of Nova Scotia. I said that it was hard to fight stupid as there is so much of it around.)

    During the war, cigarettes were sent to “the boys” overseas, thus there is or was a generation of men and women who were addicted for life.

    My Navy vet will be 90 this week and we both quit smoking in 1975. But the results of smoking for several years before that are both visible and invisible. The Navy gave “up tots” (rum) daily at 11 am for medicinal purposes. If a sailor didn’t want it, he would get 6cents a day added to his pay.

    Ninety years is a good long life and one that was livedwell under the freedom that he fought for. His choices have got him this far and if young men could find a better role model, I would be surprised.

    It takes real courage to grow up with all the insidious temptations that are strewn in the path of young men but that is nothing new. Mader’s Tobacco Store has lasted a long time and served its community well. I hope that it will not become an empty storefront like so many others in Kentville and Wolfville, thanks to the big box stores that are importing our future landfills.

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