Mr. Speaker, I have been moved to make some brief comments in view of what I have heard about Bill C-71 in the House today.
One of the things I have heard is that the bill goes too far. No, the bill contains only a partial ban on tobacco advertising even though total bans have been adopted by some countries including Australia, New Zealand, France, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Italy.
The bill does not ban tobacco sponsorships even though the United States has adopted a law that will ban all tobacco sponsorship advertising effective August 28, 1998.
Then we hear the regulatory authority in the bill is too broad. The regulatory authority created by the bill is less than for products covered by the Hazardous Products Act, yet tobacco is much more dangerous. The nicotine patch is more strictly regulated under the Food and Drug Act than cigarettes will be under Bill C-71.
Then we hear events now sponsored by tobacco companies will have to be cancelled. The bill does not ban sponsorships, it only regulates the use of tobacco brand elements in sponsoring advertising.
Prominent former tobacco sponsorship recipients now have non-tobacco sponsors. In 1988, for example, the Royal Canadian Golf Association testified before a parliamentary committee that du Maurier could not be replaced as a sponsor of the men's Canadian open. The event is now sponsored by Bell Canada.
It is often said the bill will cost jobs in the tobacco industry. In some ways Bill C-71 protects jobs in the Canadian tobacco industry because advertising restrictions make it difficult for foreign companies to penetrate the Canadian market.
Even if there would even be some job impact, public health must take precedence and priority. To argue otherwise is something like arguing that World War II should have continued to prevent job losses in the munitions factory. That is the same kind of logic.
Then we hear there will be a significant adverse impact on retailers. In 1987-88 the tobacco industry claimed that Bill C-51, the Tobacco Products Control Act, which was eventually passed by Parliament banning tobacco advertising, would cost thousands of jobs. It just did not happen.
Then we hear the bill amounts to a de facto total ban on advertising. No, the bill permits tobacco advertising in publications read primarily by adults, in direct mail to adults and in places
where minors are prohibited by law. The scope remains ample for advertising, much to the chagrin of the health committee.
It is also said that the bill infringes on provincial jurisdiction. Restricting tobacco marketing was strongly upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1996 as being within the federal jurisdiction.
Then we hear tobacco is a legal product. There are other legal products or activities the advertising of which is restricted. Prescription drugs are legal but consumer advertising of prescription drugs, including the nicotine patch, is illegal. There is no such thing as the prozac tennis championship or the valium arts festival. Prostitution is legal but soliciting for prostitution is illegal. My example is clear.
The bill, it is said, infringes on the charter of rights and freedoms. The government has gone to great lengths to respond to the Supreme Court's majority judgment. Bill C-71 contains a partial ban on advertising, not a total ban. Lifestyle advertising is banned but product information can still be communicated to consumers in a manner directed primarily to adults.
Then we hear education is the complete answer. Education alone is not enough to reduce smoking. We need effective education and money spent on it, but educational interventions cannot compete with the multi-million dollar advertising campaigns of the tobacco industry.
Then we hear there is no evidence that advertising increases smoking. I would like to say that a House of Commons committee in the United Kingdom held hearings on tobacco advertising and concluded in 1992 that there was indeed a relationship between advertising and consumption.
In RJR-MacDonald Inc. v. Canada, the attorney general case, all nine judges of the Supreme Court of Canada agreed that there was a rational connection between tobacco advertising and increased consumption.
Recent studies have documented a high awareness of recall of tobacco advertising among children and adolescents with, for example, Joe Camel, the cartoon character which promotes Camel cigarettes being just as recognizable among 6-year olds as Mickey Mouse. Just think of it.
Tobacco use is the cause of 30 per cent of cancer and more than 80 per cent of lung cancer. The overwhelming number of new smokers are children. To protect our children it is essential that Bill C-71 be passed without being weakened by the tobacco lobby.
How can we in Canada neglect this blight on society? Canadians want to protect the environment in the national sense. Therefore we must also help the victims of tobacco to protect them from this form of societal pollution.