Da Legal Stuff...

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Are Newfoundland and Labrador Legion Members Getting A Fair Deal?

Mud, muck, blood and slime. Cold, wet, freezing wind. Bullets, bombs, shells and shot. Lost arms, legs, lives and sanity.

These are just a few of the words that can be used to describe what our veterans have gone through in their valiant efforts to protect our way of life and our freedom. They are a pale attempt to characterize the gruesome and bloody days, weeks, months and years that veterans from this province and throughout the world have had to endure in the name of God and Country. Pale words because nothing can do justice to what they have witnessed.

Most, if not all of our WWI veterans are gone now. They are the lucky ones. Lucky not to be here to see the way the Provincial government is stealing away the freedom of the remaining veterans of other conflicts like WWII.

Most of the WWII veterans are now in their 80’s or 90’s. They too are not long for this world and they are now at an age when all they ask to be able to live out their lives in comfort and peace.

Enter the Provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador with new anti-smoking legislation that will see these brave men and women forced to leave their own Legion Halls to enjoy a simple cigarette. Remember, most of these brave men and women grew up in a time when smoking was the norm and not considered a curse on society. It is a part of many of their lives and now the government is planning on infringing on their ability to enjoy one of the few pleasures these people have left.

The new anti-smoking law, which is due to come into effect on July 1, Canada Day by the way, would see everyone “Butt Out” in all public places. No Ifs, Ands or “BUTTS”. No exceptions have been made for organizations such as the Royal Canadian Legion who’s members paid the ultimate price for our freedom and lifestyle.

Everyone knows that smoking is a major health concern and nobody is arguing the underlying motives of our government. What many people are concerned about is the heavy handed and misguided way in which they are bringing in such a law.

If protection of the workers in clubs or other public establishments is indeed the main concern, then what is their argument for not allowing smoking on the outdoor decks of bars and especially Legion Halls that have one?

A request by the Beverage Industry Association to allow bar owners to setup special smoking rooms for customers was flatly denied by government yet they will allow smoking rooms to be setup for the very staff members they are trying to protect. What does this mean? It means that all over this province you will soon be hearing of something very nasty happening.

At Legion Halls all over the province 20 or 30 year old bartenders may soon be telling our aging, ailing war hero’s to put out their cigarettes or leave the establishment they helped create. Then many of these young people will turn around and walk into special room to enjoy a smoke of their own.

It’s a great province we live in isn’t it?

Footnote: I'd like to thank the Canadian Democratic Movement for re-publishing this article on their web site. Check them out in our links section.


Anne said...

I don't agree with anyone smoking, but you do make some points.

Why couldn't the provincial government let these people go ahead on outdoor decks?

Activist said...

When you have an unfair and unjust law, you simply break it. This is how prohibition was handled in the U.S. it is how segregation was defeated as well.

When a vast number of people stand up and defy a law it eventually will be changed.

Patriot said...

You've got a point "Activist".

What we need is one of these old soldiers to fight the law and make sure the press is all around when the police come to give him a ticket or arrest him.

Wouldn't that make the government look good.

Sad and Disgusted said...

My Grandfather is a veteran. He never talks to me or our family about what happened in the war but I sometimes see him sit and think and I know he is reliving that time and all the terrible things he saw and did.

If he can't go for a cold beer every now and then and sit and enjoy a cigarette, maybe remember with some of his old friends and other who went through that hell, then what did he fight for?

Patriot said...

Hi Sad,

Your's is the type of situation I would hope the provincial government has the heart to avoid.

You are right, your Grandfather should have the right to enjoy his quiet years.

Let's all hope our government does not let him and others like him down.

thecatinthehat999@hotmail.com said...

This is my reply to the blog on the smoking ban affecting the Canadian Legion. Although I'm sure that I may head off in different tangents and seem like I'm rambling during the time it takes me to type what I would like to say, I'm equally sure by the end that you will understand my position. Also, thanks for taking the time to read this. If you are a smoker, stand up for your rights.

Goverment of Newfoundland and Labrador... Kiss my "Butt" (That may be a cigarette butt in case my humour is a bit too trite)

Our provincial government has apparently unilaterly imposed a smoking ban. I understand from my local MHA that there were "information sessions" and survey(s) taken prior to this decision being made, perhaps making my use of "apparently
unilaterly" statement a bit precarious. Unfortunately, I was not aware of any information sessions, nor was I asked to
participate in any survey(s). Perhaps the survey(s) and information sessions were completed somewhere other than where I live, or maybe I was just in a coma while they transpired. Who knows!. If they had been advertised as well as a CUPE or NAPE strike against the provincial government, maybe things would have been different. I could have been completing surveys "until
the cows come home". Sorry, I couldn't resist that one.

As far as smoking bans go, I think a public ban in MOST places is a good idea. Restaurants, hospitals, day care centers, libraries, you get the idea, are places where it would make COMMON SENSE NOT to smoke (please try and NOT notice that I placed "COMMON SENSE" in capital letters). Bars, lounges, etc., however, fall under a bit of a different category. These are
government licensed establishments where you have to be of the age of majority to enter. I have patronized a few bars since I
reached the age of nineteen, and I can't really recall any children being in any of them. With the kids out of the way, the government cites the health of the workers of these establishments (I surmise they may be worrying about our health as well), and are doing this for our own good. I say thank you government, but in the same breath I hope that you don't think the population of this province is too high and legislate sterilization and castration as the cure. Remember, sometimes caring too much is as bad as not caring enough.... Finally, I can publicly state that I have learned something as a parent.

And now for something completely different: Equality. That's a really cool word. To be absolutely sure of it's meaning, I looked it up in a dictionary. The dictionary defines "equality" as:
"the quality or state of being equal: as a : sameness or equivalence in number, quantity, or measure b : likeness or sameness in quality, power, status, or degree"

After reading the definition of equality, I was purplexed. As a smoker, was I equal in the eyes of the law? I looked up the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Really neat stuff in there as well. I even found two paragraphs on the equality of Canadians. It reads as:

"15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability."

"(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of
disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability "

** amelioration means betterment

I certainly realize through my knowledge of the english language and canadian law (no matter how bad it might be), that those
two paragraphs of the CCRF do not implicitly guarantee anyone the right to smoke where they please, however it does state "Every individual is equal before and under the law". That half of a sentence certainly presents a huge problem though, as the government may enact a law that each of us is equally responsible to uphold. Please forgive my being inane for the following example. The government could act extremely "left field" (moreso than normal) and enact a law that states "no person or persons living within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador may wear yellow shirts." Although some people like yellow shirts, and no matter how nice they might look in them, it would be unlawful to wear them. This is similar in kind to the anti-smoking legislation.

Paragraph 15, subsection 1
in the second half of the sentence states "and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability." Hmmm.... that one could really make you think. Should you put both halves of the sentence together or interpret them as two distinct conveyances of meaning. My personal opinion is that if they were meant to be interepreted as one statement, the "and" would have been discluded. This means that we can interpret the second half of the sentence by itself. I looked up many different interpretations, but the general gist is that each canadians rights
regardles of blah, blah, blah is protected by the CCRF. To illustrate our coverage of rights we need to look at the facts
that are applicable to the current situation.

1. The chemical/habitual/social addiction to tobacco products constitutes a disability for those so afflicted. In many ways, it is much more damaging than that of a gambling addiction (Which I might add offers toll free addiction help)

2. Our government has not only condoned the availablity and sale of tobacco products, but has actually profited from it. (To the tune of 17 cents per cigarette or 25 cents per gram of fine cut tobacco. That's 34.00 Canadian dollars per carton of cigarettes for those of you who don't want to do the math.) In many ways, by condoning the sale of tobacco products, the government has furthered our addiction to these products.

3. At NO time has the government attempted to ban the sale of these products (Goverment Income = $1240.00 / year for the average 1 package / day smoker. That's a spicy taxation meatball, mmmmm tasty, goverments like high calorie fatty foods.)

4. Taking into account 1, 2 and 3, the government has not offered the following:
a. free counciling on quitting smoking
b. free smoke cessation aids (patch, gum, etc.)
c. the decency to phase in the program

If according to the CCRF, the rights as an individual Canadian are protected, where exactly does our provincial government get the right to uphold the rights of a nonsmoker over a smoker? Why can't both smokers and nonsmokers alike be accomodated.
It's not as if it's a difficult problem to solve. Allowing bars, lounges, etc. to implement a properly vented smoking room
would resolve the issue, and the rights of those that chose to enter or not enter them. It would seem only just that after the goverment has contributed to our addiction, they would allow us to enjoy it in peace.

One question to the masses. As I understand it, the anti-smoking legislation calls for a fine to be levied on any bar owner who does not support it. If an unknown person (lets say a big strong hairy man) enters a bar after July 1st and lights up a cigarette, who exactly is responsible for getting that person to extinguish it? The bar staff (most likely a 20 odd year old girl)? Seemingly, that would seem quite unreasonable. Is the bar staff to contact the RCMP for assistance? If one unknown
person decides to smoke in every bar (perhaps in St. John's where anonymity is quite possible), is the province ready to station an RCMP officer in every bar, lounge, etc. every day and every night ad nauseum??? I think this is a stupid, poorly thought out law, made by uninformed people. My only hope is that is causes the provincial government more aggravation than it's worth.

There are so many other things worth mentioning here, but fortunately for you I've run out of magnetic ink.

Whew!!! I feel better.


Patriot said...


Great comments and great examples. You obviously feel very strongly about this subject and rightfully so.

I agree 100%. Everyone should have the right to equality under the law and if the government condones the sale of tobacco products and even profits from them then where do they get off making anyone who uses them feel like outcasts and lepers.

Keep the comments coming John, they are really appreciated.

thecatinthehat999@hotmail.com said...

I would post more, but I'm far too upset about the obvious (maybe oblivious is a better word) lack of respect of the rights of a smoker as a Canadian citizen. Perhaps they should legislated a law that permits intelligent people politics only... there would be nobody left to enforce such poorly thought out plans.

Is it just me that feels my rights are being trampled on?


Anonymous said...

I have never smoked and I am glad that I don't.

Any who advocates smoking in public places on the basis of equal rights are out to lunch. If I want to go to a bar and have a good time I shouldn't be forced to have to tolerate second hand smoke. Equal rights are ok so long as they dont impose on the rights of another, if you want to kill yourself go right ahead and smoke, dont expect me to tolerate it in my presence.

I'm am glad they are taking a hard line on the issue, once decks and DSRs are allowed might as well have smoking back in the bars, because as everyone knows the doors and DSR to the deck will be open all night and there will be a significant amount of smoke going into the establishment. Then people from the PBA get on open line shows and claim the workers wouldnt have to go into the DSRs. Come on, that statement is ridiculous everyone knows the bar owner would be sending people in to these rooms to bus tables and server the patrons. I would also go so far as to say anyone refusing would either be quietly let go or forced out maybe by reducing their hours to an amount that no one would be able to continue in that position.

My father passed away from lung cancer, and my mother was told she has less then a year to live all because of this habit, she had one lung removed, and now found out that the lung cancer had spread to her brain.

I look forward to the day when people wise up and kick this habit totally because god knows the government wont do anything about it, they are hooked on the revenue stream.

I am enjoying the weather and the bars this summer, I hope you all are as well :)

Upalong said...

And as long as he's in or running for office I'll be voting for him.