Smoking ban can’t wait another year, NDP says

Delaying a smoking ban for another year would betray the public, says the NDP. On Wednesday, the government tabled the all-party committee report…

Delaying a smoking ban for another year would betray the public, says the NDP.

On Wednesday, the government tabled the all-party committee report that calls for a territorial ban on smoking in public places and prohibits the display and advertising of tobacco products in stores.

The government has pledged to draft legislation based on the recommendations.

The public will see how serious the government is about passing anti-smoking legislation when the NDP’s private member’s bill, dubbed the Smoke-Free Places Act, comes before the legislature next week, said NDP leader Todd Hardy.

Based on public hearings and Hardy’s Bill 104, introduced last spring, the report calls for legislation — either Hardy’s or a new government bill.

The deadline to introduce new legislation has passed, so a new government bill can’t be brought forward until the spring.

That could mean a smoking ban won’t be in place until the fall, says Health Minister Brad Cathers.

That’s too late, said Hardy.

Bill 104 is already before the house and requires a third reading to become law. Amendments to strengthen the bill can be made, he said.

If the government is serious about banning smoking, pass Bill 104, he said.

“I would look at any attempt to rewrite or delay this bill anymore as a betrayal of the public,” said Hardy.

“There’s no reason to introduce a new bill. People responded to the bill. The recommendations say (implement the ban) as soon as possible.

“It’s been sitting with the government for over six months, so if there was any real concern around it, that work should have been done.”

Introduced in April, Bill 104 passed a second reading, an unusual step for most legislation proposed by opposition parties.

Passing a second reading gives the bill legislative approval in principal.

The government proposed the all-party committee tour the territory for public input.

It was the first such committee in 15 years.

Cathers, Liberal MLA Darius Elias and NDP MLA John Edzerza sat on the committee.

In addition to a complete ban on smoking in public places and on the retail display and advertising of tobacco products, it will also end the sale of Popeye’s Candy Sticks.

 All candy cigarettes and other sweets that mimic tobacco products will be verboten.

Government legislation will “reflect” the basic spirit and intent of Bill 104 and will include recommendations from the report, said Cathers.

“People will be pleased at the end of the day and the piece of legislation will be good for the territory,” he said.

New legislation is needed because Bill 104 must be strengthened and the Justice department has to review the legislation, said Cathers.

The government simply wants to puts its stamp on anti-smoking legislation, said Hardy, pledging to introduce his bill on Wednesday.

He expects the Yukon Party government to filibuster the bill by running out the clock and adjourning debate, effectively killing the bill.

“That’ll be voting against it,” said Hardy.

“I’ll take that as a vote against the legislation.”

A smoking ban has been a long time coming, said Scott Kent, regional manager for the Canadian Cancer Society.

“The sooner, the better, is the way to do it,” said Kent.

The recommendations are a great start to putting in place legislation where none existed before, he added.

“The time has come and it’s great for the Yukon to drop that label as the only territory or province without anti-smoking legislation,” said Kent.

Nunavut and the NWT implemented smoking bans in 2004.

On January 1, Alberta and BC will adopt smoking bans.

Whitehorse already has a ban in place.

Tobacco taxes should also be increased, said Kent.

The Yukon has the third-lowest tobacco tax rates in Canada at $26.40 per 200 cigarettes. Nunavut and the NWT have the highest at $42.

Yukoners buying roll-your-own tobacco for 200 cigarettes pay only $4.68 in taxes, the lowest in Canada.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dawson the dog sits next to the Chariot Patrick Jackson has loaded and rigged up to walk the Dempster Highway from where it begins, off the North Klondike Highway, to the Arctic Circle. (Submitted)
Walking the Dempster

Patrick Jackson gets set for 405-kilometre journey

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read