Led By Its Smokiest Province, Canada Goes After Big Tobacco

After all the debates over the efficacy of Canadian health care, the Canadian government is pursuing  a unique track in cutting the costs and easing some of the burden placed on its universal health care system. Despite some obvious drawbacks, most notably a potential hit to the tourist industry, Canadian government at the federal and provincial levels are taking an aggressive stance against the tobacco industry and the constraints they’ve place on nationalized health care.

It started with a smoking ban in places like Quebec, where locals used to smoke just about everywhere. The province known for its smoking culture has since considered banning smoking in cars with children present. But in perhaps its boldest move yet, Quebec is apparently considering suing the tobacco industry. And the lawsuit wouldn’t be filed on moral grounds, but with an entirely financial pretext.

With Quebec spending $1 billion a year treating people with smoking-related illnesses, the $30 billion suit looks to recoup the health-care costs related to the tobacco industry. And Quebec isn’t alone.

In an even larger lawsuit, Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, is apparently seeking $50 billion in smoking-related damages, which it could now be entitled to thanks to the recently-passed Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act. The act has also been passed in British Columbia, which could be readying a lawsuit of its own.

Canada’s battle against tobacco has already proven costly. Quebec’s ban on tobacco advertising has already endangered a number of high-profile tourist attractions, including the Canadian Grand Prix. One of Canada’s largest annual events, the Montreal race was cancelled last year after years of receiving a prominent sponsorship boost from the tobacco industry. But if a province with a rich smoking history like Quebec is willing to take such calculated risks, there’s no telling how the rest of the Western world might take on such a powerful industry.  

NYTimes exposé reveals how Facebook handled scandals

Delay, deny and deflect were the strategies Facebook has used to navigate scandals it's faced in recent years, according to the New York Times.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The exhaustive report is based on interviews with more than 50 people with ties to the company.
  • It outlines how senior executives misled the public and lawmakers in regards to what it had discovered about privacy breaches and Russian interference in U.S. politics.
  • On Thursday, Facebook cut ties with one of the companies, Definers Public Relations, listed in the report.
Keep reading Show less

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

What would happen if America defaulted on its debt?

Sure we know it would be bad, but what do all of these scary numbers really mean?

Politics & Current Affairs
  • At the press time, the value was $21.7 trillion dollars.
  • Lots of people know that a default would be bad, but not everybody seems to get how horrible it would be.
  • While the risk is low, knowing what would happen if a default did occur is important information for all voters.
Keep reading Show less