In the US you can buy cigarettes, a handgun, bullets, whiskey, and an armoured tank all in one stop at the local Walmart. It is kind of like your one stop SinMart. Things are not so in Canada, particularly in Saskatchewan.
Having been away from the coddling government of Saskatchewan, I had completely forgotten that it was illegal for stores in that province to have cigarettes on display. I remember how absurd it was the morning after the The Tobacco Control Act went into affect. Stores had plastic shower curtains hung up on the wall behind the cash register. The idea was that if children and teens did not see the cigarettes, they would not start smoking. The plan had been set forth by the Special Committee on Tobacco Control, an all party committee comprised of members of the Legislative Assembly. The resulting Act was approved unanimously in 2001 and became law in March of 2002.
There have been multiple challenges to the Act, the biggest perhaps from Rothmans Benson & Hedges Inc
. The initial case was dismissed, but it was appealed. The resulting ruling
of that appeal was that Saskatchewan's Section 6 of the Tobacco Control Act was inconsistent with Section 30 of the Tobacco Control Act of Canada. The Court of Appeal ruled that Saskatchewan's Act was in effect "weaker" that the federal Act which authorizes retailers to display tobacco products and to post signs.
But not so!
Today's headline is as follows: Provinces Can Limit Tobacco Promotion
. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Saskatchewan's law does not conflict with the federal law and is very much constitutional. In fact, they serve the same purpose "to combat a public heath evil". Other provinces, particularly British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island had watched the legal battle closely and are now considering enforcing their own laws against the promotion of tobacco products.
Walmart had best stock up on shower curtains.
Tomorrow's history lesson: Saskatchewan's chokehold on the sale of liquor.