Friday, June 8, 2012


When I was a small child, my family was very poor. My father worked hard as a cutter in a dress factory and he brought his pay envelope home to my mother at the end of the week. We lived on St. Dominque Street and Colonial in the old section of Montreal.
I remember that the neighbours' fathers stopped at the corner saloon before going home. Smoke wafted out of the bar into the street, and the dirty little children stood outside the saloon in bare feet waiting for their daddies. Their shoes were saved for church on Sunday. The fathers bought beer and cigarettes, not shoes and socks.
And I remember the little boys picking up cigarette butts near the lane and they had brown, broken teeth. School was free, but no one seemed to have learned that children should not smoke. The fathers bought beer and cigarettes, but did they have a toothbrush in the house?  Fleeting memories. Sad memories of lives ruined before they even had a chance to start.
With the help of my grandmother and my father's devoted labour, we made our way up to a better home in what is now known as The Plateau. In the early 1950's, when I was about thirteen years old and starting high school, some of my school mates were just starting to smoke cigarettes. I said tobacco would cause cancer. I wouldn't try it and the smell made me sick. The girls scoffed. And Big Tobacco killed for decades more.
The Tobacco Barons have killed more people than all the wars of history. But no one was punished for the millions of murders. The Tobacco Barons thrived while their customers coughed and choked and spit blood and died.
Bravo, Quebec! Like all the world that has turned blind eyes to the killers for more than a century, you are finally acknowledging the truth you have known all along.
Big Tobacco brings Big Bucks to government, and politicians have been the accomplices of the Tobacco Barons all along, selling their souls for money and selling the lives of the innocent for a price .... millions of tortured lives and painful deaths - the result of the biggest lie in history... tobacco.
Phyllis Carter

Quebec sues big tobacco for $60 billion, becomes fifth province to launch suit

QUEBEC - Half of Canadian provinces have now sued big tobacco companies in an attempt to recoup health costs, with the Quebec government announcing a $60 billion lawsuit Friday.

Five provinces have now filed similar lawsuits — British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Quebec — while five others have announced plans to do the same.

In the United States, such actions have been resolved with a huge out-of-court settlement — of at least US$206 billion over 25 years.

The lawsuits from provinces are separate from historic class-action lawsuits being launched by smokers and former smokers in Quebec.

Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier said he wouldn't share many details of the government's case outside the courtroom, but he did say the government believes tobacco companies were not forthcoming in the past with information about the hazards of smoking.

Health Minister Yves Bolduc listed multiple types of illnesses or treatments associated with smoking — including cancer, heart disease, amputations and underweight births.

"The illnesses (associated) are our principal causes of hospitalization — and also the principal cause of illnesses that require extremely expensive treatments," Bolduc said.

"So the costs associated with these illnesses over many years has placed an extremely high financial burden on the health system."

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION


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