Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and
Issue 50 - Evidence
OTTAWA, Wednesday, March 19, 1997
The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, to which was
referred Bill C-71, to regulate the manufacture, sale, labelling and promotion
of tobacco products, to make consequential amendments to another Act and to
repeal certain Acts, met this day at 3:15 p.m. to give consideration to the
Senator Sharon Carstairs (Chair) in the Chair.
The Chair: Honourable senators, we are beginning today our study of Bill C-71.
It has been the custom of this committee at the beginning of study on a bill
about which we think there will be a certain amount of energetic debate that a
motion be proposed to the effect that any consideration of votes on any motions
dealing with disposition in committee of the bill, which in this case is Bill
C-71, be held no earlier than at the completion of the hearing of all witnesses.
Senator Beaudoin: Madam Chair, I so move.
The Chair: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: I wish to welcome Minister Dingwall. We hope that you will have
sufficient time to answer our questions this afternoon. We know you want to
begin with some opening remarks. We welcome those to begin the process.
The Honourable David Dingwall, Minister of Health: Thank you, Madam Chair and
honourable senators, for your kind invitation to be here to give evidence with
regard to Bill C-71. I have in my company today three senior officials: Mr.
André Juneau, the Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy and Consultation
Branch, Health Canada; Ms Judy Ferguson, Director General, Health Policy and
Information Directorate, Policy and Consultation Branch, Health Canada; and Mr.
Chris McNaught, Counsel, Legal Services, Health Canada, from the Department of
Honourable senators, let me say at the outset that if, at the end of my
presentation you have a number of questions, I would be happy to entertain
those. In addition, if senators thought it would be appropriate for me to
return at a subsequent time, I would be happy to oblige.
As many of you know, in the past few weeks debate over the merits of Bill C-71
has intensified. Yet, I think it should be noted that few, if any, who oppose
this important piece of legislation take issue with its objectives. How could
it be otherwise, I think is the most appropriate question.
As we all know, tobacco is a lethal product. It kills people. It always has, and
it always will. Each and every year it kills more than 40,000 Canadians. That
is one in five Canadian deaths.
In the United States, tobacco use is responsible for the deaths of more than
400,000 Americans each year. World wide, smoking kills one person every 10
How could any responsible government not act to deal with this threat to the
health of its citizens? In Bill C-71, I believe my government has acted, and
has acted responsibly.
Tobacco use is an issue which has confronted many of my predecessors. Their
governments, and I am referring specifically to the Honourable Jake Epp, acted
with the same sense of responsibility with which we move forward today.
Let me summarize briefly what this legislation will do. The proposed legislation
will make it more difficult for young people to buy tobacco products. It will
strengthen the health information that tobacco products packages must display.
It will establish the authority to regulate tobacco products. It will restrain
all aspects of tobacco promotion, and diminish the prominence and the exposure
of tobacco promotion, particularly to young Canadians.
It will limit tobacco product advertising and prohibit the use of tobacco brand
names or logos on youth-oriented products or those with life-style
connotations. It will regulate the use of tobacco brand names and other brand
elements in the promotion of events sponsored by tobacco companies. It will
limit the use of sale promotion techniques that encourage smoking.
The government recognizes the freedom-of-speech issues raised by the control of
tobacco promotion. In crafting this legislation, we have drawn on the guidance
provided by the Supreme Court of Canada in its 1995 ruling on the Tobacco
Products Control Act to ensure that Bill C-71 respects the Charter of Rights
The Supreme Court of Canada recognized a link between tobacco advertising and
consumption, and clearly confirmed that the federal government can control
tobacco advertising under the criminal law power. The court held that
...validly employ the criminal law to prohibit tobacco manufacturers from
inducing Canadians to consume these products, and to increase public awareness
concerning the hazards of their use.
The debate, therefore, is whether the restrictions in Bill C-71 are reasonable
-- reasonable in terms of the problem they attempt to address and reasonable in
terms of the consequences they can be expected to have.
We believe that they are. While there may be some economic impact depending upon
the business decisions ultimately taken by the tobacco companies, an assessment
of this impact must also factor into the equation the economic costs caused by
tobacco use, costs that amount to $15 billion each year in direct health care
and lost productivity.
We appreciate that the tobacco companies have, for a number of years, been
increasingly associated with the entertainment of Canadians through their
sponsorship of popular arts and sports events across the country. We also
appreciate that the tobacco companies want to profile their association and,
yes, receive credit for it. However, in light of the lethal health consequences
of tobacco use, is it not reasonable to ask event organizers and sponsors alike
to show some legitimate accommodation? A fundamental question in this debate,
therefore, is: How much is enough? How big does the tobacco brand have to be
before the tobacco companies are satisfied with whether it is visible enough?
How many billboards, banners, flags, posters, bus panels, street kiosks and
newspaper and magazine ads bearing the tobacco brand are required to ensure the
commercial viability of sponsored events?
If -- and I want to emphasize the word "if" -- Bill C-71 actually
banned the promotion of tobacco products, there may be some validity to the
arguments being made that the bill unreasonably violates the tobacco companies'
rights of freedom of expression, but such arguments do not stand up to scrutiny
because the proposed legislation does not ban tobacco promotion. It allows
product advertising. It allows the display of tobacco products at retail
outlets. It allows tobacco companies to communicate information about their
products to adult consumers. The tobacco brand will be allowed to appear on
sponsored events promotion, for example, on signs at the event site and in
publications with adult readership.
We have been reasonable in the substance of this bill, and we have been
reasonable in its application. We have been mindful of the concerns among the
arts and sports groups which benefit from tobacco sponsorship about the
potential impact of Bill C-71 on their events. That was the reason behind the
decision to defer implementation of the sponsorship promotion restrictions until
October of 1998. This transition period will give event organizers two full
seasons to make adjustments and to adapt to a new marketing environment.
Senators, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Standing Committee
on Health in the other place for their insight and guidance on this issue. When
they reported on this legislation, they recommended that I consider an
implementation period for the sponsorship provisions. We have responded to that
I want now to take a moment to explain the approach we have taken in Bill C-71
to sponsorship promotion. I am well aware of the concerns which have been
generated by these provisions.
It is important to remember first that advertising and consumption are related.
As I mentioned earlier in my remarks, the Supreme Court recognized this in its
1995 ruling on the Tobacco Products Control Act. However, it is also important
to understand that the relationship cannot be reduced to a simplistic
mathematical equation of cause and effect. It is clear to those who have
researched the issue that the smoking decision process is extremely complex.
There is no magic bullet. It is not just one factor that causes individuals to
start or to continue to smoke. It is clear from the great weight of research in
Canada and, yes, internationally, that a combination of factors, including
sponsorship promotion, contributes to the decision to smoke.
The decision to smoke is not just about starting. It also includes the decision
to continue to smoke and the decision to delay or avoid quitting. In my view,
it is simply untenable to maintain that tobacco promotion does not influence
these decisions. Since tobacco promotion is so pervasive in our society, it
cannot help but reach young Canadians, so it is equally untenable to maintain
that tobacco promotion does not influence youth smoking behaviours.
The tobacco industry has said that the decision to smoke or not to smoke is one
for informed adults to make, but what they do not say is that the people who
make the decision to start smoking are rarely adults. They are kids, your kids
and my kids, young kids between the ages of 14 and 16. By the time they become
adults, the decision not to smoke is too often undermined by the addiction to
tobacco that has already set in.
Bill C-71 does not prohibit tobacco companies from sponsoring events, nor will
it deny them the opportunity to promote those sponsorship investments. This
legislation will limit the extent to which companies may use the brand names of
tobacco products in association with those sponsored events. This limitation
will diminish the positive link between a product that kills 40,000 Canadians
each and every year and a wide range of appealing and exciting lifestyle
activities and events. The restriction is necessary because it is the presence
of the tobacco brand element that converts the sponsorship promotion into a
device to market a lethal product.
The approach in Bill C-71 is consistent with the guidance provided by the
Supreme Court of Canada. The court determined that restrictions on the
promotion of tobacco products are a legitimate means to achieve the
government's health objectives and that such curbs are an appropriate response
to the health impacts of tobacco use. These restrictions meet the court's
requirement that a causal connection be established between the legislative
measures proposed and the benefits which are sought.
Madam Justice McLachlin said:
Where...legislation is directed at changing human behaviour... the causal
relationship may not be scientifically measurable. In such cases, this Court
has been prepared to find a causal connection between the infringement and
benefit sought on the basis of reason or logic without insisting on direct
proof of a relationship between the infringing measure and the legislative
The measures contained in Bill C-71 are based upon reason and logic. Moreover,
they are based upon the findings contained in the extensive and growing body of
international research which consistently affirms the need for a comprehensive
approach to tobacco control, including significant restrictions on the
promotion of tobacco products.
A research bibliography that guided the development of this legislation was
provided when the government released its blueprint for tobacco control more
than a year ago and again in an expanded version when I announced the elements
of Bill C-71 last November.
I am also aware that the concern has been expressed that the regulatory
authority conferred upon the government by this legislation is excessive. Let
me respond by making the following four points:
First, the bill is clear in setting out what will and what will not be
permitted. Details specifying the time, place, and manner in which these
restrictions and permissions will apply will be spelled out in regulation.
Second, the regulatory powers in Bill C-71 are not unusual or unique. They are
consistent with the regulatory powers we have in other statutes -- for example,
over drugs, food, hazardous products, transportation, and the environment.
Third, Treasury Board regulatory policy requires that affected parties be
consulted in the development of regulations in a meaningful and transparent
fashion. We will, of course, abide by that. There will be ample opportunity for
stakeholders to comment on any proposed regulations before and after they have
Fourth, the transparency of the regulatory process will be further enhanced by
the requirement in Bill C-71 that proposed regulations be referred to an
appropriate committee in the other place for study and consideration. Members
of the other place will have an opportunity to hold hearings and propose
changes to the regulations. This will subject the regulatory process to even
greater public scrutiny and comment.
I have emphasized from the outset of the debate over this legislation that Bill
C-71 is, first and foremost, a health bill. It is about protecting the health
of Canadians, particularly young Canadians, from the predictable and
preventable consequences of tobacco addiction.
In writing the majority decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, Justice
...protecting Canadians from the risks associated with tobacco use...
constitutes an objective of sufficient importance to justify overriding the
right of free expression guaranteed by the Charter.
Justice McLachlin further stated:
...even a small reduction in tobacco use may work a significant benefit to the
health of Canadians and justify a properly proportioned limitation of right of
Senators, we have moved with care and diligence in order to get this legislation
right. We have considered the effects of tobacco use. We have followed closely
the guidance of the Supreme Court of Canada. We have weighed the available
research and the potential impact of the proposed legislative measures.
We believe that the measures contained in Bill C-71 are a reasonable and
properly proportioned response to this country's most urgent and pressing
public health problem.
At the end of the day, I must say to my colleagues here in the Senate, as well
as those in the House of Commons, that this legislation in itself is not a
panacea; however, it is an important and essential component of an effective
tobacco control strategy.
Just as the government has taken guidance from the Supreme Court of Canada in
drafting Bill C-71, I would hope that this legislation will offer some
assistance and hope to parents. Parents do not want their children to smoke.
They want their children to stay healthy. I believe the government has a
responsibility to help fathers and mothers keep their children smoke-free.
That concludes my remarks. I am in your hands.
The Chair: Thank you, Minister Dingwall.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Thank you, minister, for your statement.
I do not think there is any disagreement as to the purpose of this legislation.
As you mentioned, and as we are aware, it builds on the bill that Minister Epp
presented in 1988. Unfortunately, he went too far, according to the Supreme
Court of Canada. As a result, we must start all over again. Hopefully you are
right in saying that you have carefully considered the Supreme Court's
reservations and taken them into consideration, as much as you could, in this
Our comments as these hearings develop will not be on the purpose of the
legislation but on how to execute a discouragement of smoking, particularly
among the young, without a complete banning of the substance, which obviously
your government is not prepared to do. We can discuss that later on today,
There are elements in this legislation which have raised some questions among
us, and I will touch on one or two. My colleagues will develop them today and
as we go on with those who come to support or condemn the bill. I suppose the
most obvious one is what I find to be an excessive use of regulatory powers.
I know that it has become increasingly common for legislation to be tailored in
a general fashion and then to leave it to bureaucrats and their ministers to
define the legislation through regulations. I will not go into the philosophy
of the abdication of parliamentary powers through regulations, but it is in a
way abdicating one's jurisdiction when so much of the implementation of this
bill is being handed over to experts, civil servants, and others.
I do know that your answer to that will be, "Well, despite all that, there
will be a parliamentary committee charged with that. As the law provides in
clause 42.1(2), every regulation must be laid before the House of Commons which
in turn sends it to a committee."
I find that the legislation as presently worded does not oblige the committee to
examine the regulation so much as to dispose of it without being obliged to
call in witnesses and have a thorough public inquiry. If we are serious about
Parliament's input into these regulations, why is the wording that the house
committee "may" conduct inquiries or public hearings rather than "shall"
conduct inquiries and public hearings so that the scrutiny is obligatory and
not discretionary? We could have a case where the parliamentary committee will
simply look at the regulations and decide that they are not worthy of further
examination and have them go into effect automatically. If we are serious about
Parliament having a say over the regulations, it has an obligation to examine
them more seriously than can be interpreted from this clause.
Mr. Dingwall: You have touched on an important aspect of the substantive
portions of Bill C-71. I want to be very clear, as someone who has, on previous
occasions, had to review different pieces of legislation that the regulatory
process under this bill is quite comprehensive.
First, a Treasury Board directive compels me as a minister of a department to
have discussions with various stakeholders in my field, which would include
both those opposed and those in favour. It is a directive which is placed by
the Treasury Board, and ministers of the day must comply with it. It also talks
about meaningful consultations, not merely off-hand or superficial ones.
Second, as you are aware, under the regulatory process of any bill, the
gazetting of any new regulations once again lays a demand upon the government
of the day to have meaningful consultations with the various stakeholders.
In addition to that, we have provided a mechanism for Parliament to decide on
the level of review, if Parliament deems it appropriate. You may very well be
right in terms of the discretionary versus the mandatory obligation which is
placed upon the standing committee, but surely the standing committee should
have that authority and discretion as to whether they wish to have an exhaustive
review of a particular matter.
I feel confident, because of the groups which are part and parcel of this --
those with a promotional point of view, those from the tobacco industry, or
those from the anti-smoking groups -- that in most, if not all, cases there
will be a full and complete airing of the substance and direction of the
We have done other forms of examination on the regulatory process. I make
mention, of course, of drugs, food and the Hazardous Products Act. It would be
our intent to work in a cooperative way with all the stakeholders regarding
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Minister Dingwall, I am sure your department has already
started working on the draft regulations. Is it possible for you to submit them
to us? Can you identify how certain clauses will be implemented by regulations?
There are, according to one witness, 19 key areas of the bill which will be
implemented through regulation. It is an unusual piece of legislation in that
so much of it will depend upon the regulations for its proper implementation
and, if that is not done properly, it could also be subjected to a court
challenge. Are there any drafts or anything in writing that could be put before
us today to give us an indication how certain clauses will be implemented,
particularly clauses 7, 14, 17, 33 and 42, which are the ones that are subject
to a discretionary, thorough House of Commons committee scrutiny?
Mr. Dingwall: Senator, the short answer is "yes." We will try to
provide those regulations if not later this day, early tomorrow, to all members
of the committee in order that you can see first-hand the terms and the
substance of the direction of those regulations.
Second, in terms of a possible court challenge to any of those regulations, we
ought to be careful -- and I know that you are not suggesting this, senator --
but there have been some third parties in the media who say that they wish to
challenge this legislation. Obviously, that is their right. I learned from the
experience of my predecessor, Mr. Epp, so that the legislation and the
regulations have been drafted in such a way that any portion thereof found to
be ultra vires, void, null or what have you will not make the entire act null
and void. That is what happened with the previous statute; certain parts were
found to be unconstitutional and the act was thrown out.
We took our time in drafting this piece of legislation to ensure that the bill
would not be found to be unconstitutional. A particular clause may be, but not
the bill. We will provide draft regulations.
I wish to add further that there will be consultations on those draft
Senator Lynch-Staunton: I agree with you that this bill has been craftily
divided into various parts so that if one part is found questionable, the other
parts will not be affected. You have received good guidance from the Supreme
Court. It is unusual that they would give such good guidance to the legislature
and we want to make sure we have followed their guidance properly.
I am delighted you are to come back once our hearings are over in the event that
we have developed more questions based on the additional knowledge we will have
Does your department have any figures to show what happened to the consumption
of tobacco products from June, 1988, when Mr. Epp's bill was given Royal Assent
and went into effect, until September 19, 1995, when the Supreme Court
regrettably found it ultra vires? What was cigarette consumption at the time of
a total ban on advertising? Do you have those figures?
Mr. Dingwall: I do not have them at my fingertips. However, I undertake to
provide that to the committee.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: It is important to determine whether we can link the Epp
bill with tobacco consumption during those years. If there is a trend line
going in the direction we are hoping it is going, then the argument to support
a total or partial ban becomes even stronger. If the trend line is flat or
meaningless or does not give any indications, then the question will be asked:
What is the purpose or what are the results of a partial or total advertising
It would be important to have those figures and an analysis of them for our
study of this bill.
Mr. Dingwall: We will try to provide that information. My predecessor did not
have a total ban. He had a ban in certain aspects, but it was not a total ban
across the board. I think you will find the figures rather revealing.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: The ban was strong enough that the Supreme Court found
it offensive, particularly on the issue of sponsorships where you and he differ
Senator Beaudoin: Most bills, especially bills like this one, are accompanied by
a certificate issued by the Minister of Justice stating that an examination of
the proposed legislation complies with the Constitution and the Charter of
Rights. Was such a certificate issued?
Mr. Dingwall: First of all, being such a novice at these kinds of items, I will
have to check on whether a certificate was provided or not. All I can tell you
is that the Minister of Justice and the Deputy Minister of Justice and their
officials have approved the legislation and the drafting. The appropriate order
in council to authorize that has been approved.
In addition, I sought out two outside legal counsels to do an examination to
make sure that the constitutional validity of what we were proposing was within
the ambit of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Senator Beaudoin: My second question is on the legal question, proper. You said
in your statement that it is within the powers of the Parliament of Canada.
With the decision of the Supreme Court in 1995, it seems obvious that the
Parliament of Canada, in a case like this, may legislate under the competence
of criminal law. Therefore, I do not see any problem there.
Second, I want to know what your position is regarding the Charter of Rights and
Freedoms. Obviously, every day we are enacting laws and some of them may
restrict freedom of expression. If we establish that it is reasonable in a free
and democratic society, we may restrict freedom of expression. The Supreme
Court decisions are clear on this.
Your position is that freedom of expression here obviously has some
restrictions. However, in your opinion, that restriction may be reconciled with
the principle of a society that is democratic. That is the difference between
this bill and the other bill. The other bill was struck down by a decision of
the Supreme Court. In drafting the present bill, obviously, the lawyers tried
to gain from the conclusions reached by the Supreme Court in the previous case.
I understand that your proposition is that the freedom of expression may be
restricted, but that restriction is respecting the principle of a free and
Mr. Dingwall: I have two points, senator. You may recall that in developing our
policy we were openly criticized by the media and antismoking groups for not
What we did painstakingly was to examine in its entirety, line by line, the
decision of the Supreme Court of Canada so as to not make the same mistakes
that had been made in the previous bill. Again, Justice McLachlin said:
...protecting Canadians from the risks associated with tobacco use...constitutes
an objective of sufficient importance to justify overriding the right of free
expression guaranteed by the Charter.
She then went on to say:
...even a small reduction in tobacco use may work a significant benefit to the
health of Canadians and justify a properly proportioned limitation of right of
What we have done in our legislation is apportioned a limitation of the right of
freedom of expression, but we believe it to be a proper exercise of that.
One must remember the four Ps of any marketing strategy, particularly of some of
the most sophisticated companies in the world, such as tobacco companies. They
emphasizes four things: price, product, place, and promotion. We have tried to
address those four things in a reasonable fashion in our legislation. We think
we have done that by complying with the provisions of the Charter of Rights,
which states that one can enact legislation, providing it is reasonable. I think
section 2 makes reference to that, or it could be section 1. I concur with you.
Senator Lewis: I too would like to welcome you, Mr. Minister, to this hearing. I
gather it is the first time you have appeared before a Senate committee, and I
hope the experience is satisfying.
There seems to be a broad misconception among the public -- I have also received
letters mentioning this point -- with respect to retail stores which employ
clerks for the sale of their products, including tobacco products. There is a
fear that they would be subject to penalty if the clerks were under age. I
believe that to be a misconception because I do not see anything in the bill
which places a restriction or prohibition on the possession of tobacco products.
Perhaps you could straighten that little point out for us.
Mr. Dingwall: Senator, you are quite correct. This is my first appearance before
a Senate committee. It is a rather interesting exercise, being the shy
individual that I am.
I believe you are making reference to clause 8(1). There has been some
speculation in the media and by different groups that we would ban young people
operating as clerks in stores from selling different products. The answer to
that question is an unequivocal no. We are not doing that at all and there is
no intention to do that. What we are trying to do is convince the customer that
they should not buy tobacco in the first place, so that is absolutely false.
Senator Doyle: Mr. Minister, I have two questions. You talked about a marketing
strategy. One of the parts of any marketing strategy is the goal that you are
attempting to reach, such as the number of things you want to produce or sell.
You mentioned several times that the death rate at the moment is about 40,000 a
year. What death rate are you aiming at? How much of a reduction do you expect
in the next year or two before you have to say to yourself, "Well, we had
better go back and change that to make it more effective so that it is not so
Mr. Dingwall: With regard to the 40,000 deaths each and every year, I believe
this figure comes from the Canadian Cancer Society. Notwithstanding that, it
was a factor submitted at Trial Division when this went forward. It has been
accepted as fact by the Supreme Court of Canada. It is not something that I or
my officials have concocted.
Second, in terms of what would be successful and not successful, I think we
cannot be successful until we see that number going from 40,000 down to zero.
That certainly would be my intention as Minister of Health.
Senator Doyle: That brings me to my second question. Would it not be easier to
get to your goal if you moved to have tobacco defined as a hazardous substance,
as a narcotic, or as a noxious substance? That would start to tear away at some
of these things. For example, we do not allow the open and unregulated sale of
Mr. Dingwall: If any earlier government, regardless of its political persuasion,
had known all of the facts that we know today, I do not think it would have
allowed the sale of cigarettes. If we had this information 100 years ago, I do
not think the product would be on the market at all.
Second, in terms of trying to make this an aspect of the Hazardous Products Act,
I do not think it fits there. The sole purpose under the Hazardous Products Act
is to make a product safe. I do not think you can make cigarettes safe.
Cigarettes kill. That is the big distinction between cigarettes and alcohol.
Alcohol kills too, but a cigarette is a lethal weapon. You are guaranteed of one
thing: You will die if you smoke enough.
We do not think the Hazardous Products Act would be the appropriate place to put
the product. We believe that the legislation we are bringing forward now
addresses the concerns that I have as a health minister, and I think it
addresses some of the concerns that you have raised as well.
Senator Nolin: Mr. Minister, I will address two areas. First, I wish to talk
about the intent of your bill, which we all support. I totally agree with my
colleague Senator Lynch-Staunton when he says that clause 4 of your bill is the
important one. We all support clause 4. However, even with the words of Justice
McLachlin from the Supreme Court, I want to know what you have to say to
convince me of the link between this intent, which I support, and the
inducement. How can sponsorship influence my 14-year-old son to start smoking?
Try to convince me of that. If you are able to convince me, I will totally
support your bill.
I am still puzzled with regard to the fact that Jacques Villeneuve wears a
jacket with a Rothman's logo or a car logo on the back. If you see a problem
with that, please tell me.
Mr. Dingwall: How old is your son, senator?
Senator Nolin: He is 14, and I have another son who is 13. They are very
concerned by that because they hate smoking.
Mr. Dingwall: I think we have to remember a number of important factors. If I
may, Madam Chair, I may be more longer-winded than normal. The media will get a
kick out of that.
There is no single thing that one can identify in the decision-making process as
being a certainty for a young person to start smoking. We are not dealing with
the Girl Guides of Canada. We are dealing with the tobacco industry, which is
one of the most sophisticated industries you will find anywhere in the world.
They are comparable to the Pepsis, the Coca Colas and the Nikes. Their marketing
strategy is to make certain that the environment is such that your 14-year-old
son -- whether he sees it on a kiosk, on a hat or on a billboard -- thinks that
it is cool and it is the okay thing to do. The reality is that we now have a
situation in 1997, as Mr. Epp had to confront in the mid-eighties, where the
environment has been polluted with misinformation and falsehoods about tobacco
consumption. Young people today believe they are immune from the causes of
tobacco consumption. They often say, "I am 14 or 15 years of age. I can
smoke 10 cigarettes. I will not get addicted." Statistical surveys will
tell you that, for those who start smoking between 14 and 17 years of age, there
is a higher probability that they will continue smoking and eventually die from
The tobacco industries have been the most successful companies in creating an
environment where everything is cool. It is not dependent on one element. That
is why we confronted the four elements: the price, the product, the place, and
the promotion. If your son sees Jacques Villeneuve or a particular billboard,
will he run out immediately to buy a package of cigarettes and start smoking? I
think the answer is obvious.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: What is the answer?
Mr. Dingwall: You know what the answer is, senator.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: No, I do not.
Mr. Dingwall: He probably will not. However, if you give that young person the
whole mix of information -- that is, that it is cool and sexy to smoke and that
the person will be immune from its effects -- tobacco consumption takes place.
The tobacco industry is not trying to convince you or your senatorial
colleagues to start smoking. That is not where their market lies. Their market
is with young people. Each and every year, they need in excess of 100,000 new
smokers in order to maintain their economic position. As the health minister, I
think we must take action in order to try to prevent that.
Senator Nolin: You stated in your remarks that it is clear from the great weight
of research in Canada and internationally that a combination of factors,
including sponsorship promotion, contributes to the decision to smoke. We will
no doubt hear witnesses who will probably say "yes" to that statement
and witnesses who will say "no" to that statement.
You used the word "internationally". Have you examined what happened
in France? I heard that they banned sponsorship, although apparently they still
have the Grand Prix. Do you have any data or research that could help us in our
Mr. Dingwall: Yes, I think we do. I am very much aware of the situation in
France. I met with the Minister of Health in Paris. We discussed this issue and
the situation in France.
In terms of the linkage, which is a crucial issue for all of us to reflect upon,
let me cite a few things. The National Cancer Institute of Canada has said
clearly that there is substantial evidence that young people are aware of and
respond to cigarette advertising. We will provide this information to you.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that evidence from social
psychology and marketing research shows that image-based advertising, such as
that employed by the cigarette and smokeless tobacco industries, is
particularly effective with young people and that the information conveyed by
imagery is likely to be more significant to young people than information
conveyed by other means of advertisement.
The American Psychological Association provided expert opinion and specific
citation to numerous studies to show that tobacco advertising plays directly to
the factors that are central to children and adolescents and thus plays an
important role in their decision to use tobacco. I have a number of others
things that I will leave with the committee as well. There is good evidence
available which makes the link between advertising and tobacco consumption by
Senator Nolin: Do you know if the consumption has decreased in France since the
Mr. Dingwall: I do not have those figures with me but we could try to ascertain
those for you. When I met with the Minister of Health from France, he told me
that he had to endure the same sorts of suggestions <#0107> that is, that
various sports and cultural groups would not be funded. In point of fact, that
has not happened.
Senator Nolin: I wish to address the issue of vending machines. I refer more
specifically to clause 12.
I understand that the first draft of your bill totally banned vending machines
for cigarettes. The bill that has come to us from the House of Commons is a bit
different. Could you explain to the committee why you accepted those changes in
the House of Commons?
Mr. Dingwall: A number of provinces do have a total ban on cigarette vending
machines. That has decreased substantially the access that young people have to
Evidence was adduced at the standing committee from the vending machine industry
and they provided wording to us which we thought was reasonable under the
circumstances, and it has been accepted.
Senator Nolin: This is important. You are saying that in the provinces where
there is a ban on vending machines for cigarettes, there is a reduction in
consumption of cigarettes. Is that correct?
Mr. Dingwall: That is the evidence of the provincial ministers of health who
make the decision on banning those various machines in their respective
The Chair: For clarification, is there a decrease in consumption or access?
Mr. Dingwall: Access.
Senator Nolin: Of course, if there is no more vending, there is less access to
the product. That is an important clarification. Do you have data showing that
there is a decrease in consumption in those provinces?
Mr. Dingwall: Not at my fingertips, no.
Senator Nolin: If you have it, is it possible for your department to provide
Mr. Dingwall: Yes.
Senator Nolin: If I read clause 12 carefully, it states that you can have a
vending machine outside a public area, or in an area such as a bar, if there is
a proper mechanism in the vending machine. That is a little bit unfair because
you are not banning the sale of cigarettes in grocery stores. If a convenience
store sells cigarettes, that is all right, but if there is a cigarette machine
in a restaurant -- not a bar -- it is not all right. Where is the fairness in
Mr. Dingwall: The intent of the clause is that where young people have easy
access to a vending machine in a public area, that will assist them in their
decision to buy cigarettes in the first instance.
In convenience stores, there is an intermediary: the seller. The seller is
constrained by certain factors such as the age of the person in question. There
is a distinction. Bars, taverns and beverage rooms are not normally, to my
knowledge, patronized by 14-year-olds. That is the intent of the legislation.
Senator Nolin: What kind of mechanism are you referring to in the bill?
Mr. Dingwall: One of the reasons we accepted the recommendations of the vending
industry is that we will have an opportunity to consult with them during the
regulatory process to determine the best means to accomplish what is intended
by that clause. They have some ideas on that which we will pursue with them
after we bring forward regulations.
Senator Nolin: I have information that your department has already agreed to a
type of mechanism with the industry. I have a copy of the letter from your
department dated January 16, 1995. I understand that the mechanism is a remote
control device. In order to have access to an operable vending machine, someone
must click that control. Presumably, the possessor of the remote control will
require young people to show identification. Why do you want this mechanism to
be installed on vending machines in bars? Young people of that age will not be
Mr. Dingwall: There are some who will have easy access to those kinds of
facilities. We have to be very concerned about access. There must be an
Senator Nolin: May I table this document?
The Chair: You may indeed.
Senator Pearson: Thank you, Mr. Dingwall, for appearing here. Everyone is
preoccupied with this issue. Many of us who have watched very close relatives
die of illnesses caused directly by tobacco are totally in favour of the
purposes of this bill.
My questions relate to young people taking up smoking. I believe I heard you say
on the radio that the percentage of people over the age of 20 who take up
smoking for the first time is very small.
Mr. Dingwall: Yes, I did say that.
Senator Pearson: Do you have a study on that?
Mr. Dingwall: Yes, we do.
Senator Pearson: I think that is probable, but I would be interested to have a
copy of your study.
Mr. Dingwall: Our information is that past the age of 18 or 19, the incidence of
people starting to smoke compares in no way to the incidence from the ages of
14 to 16. However, we have found, in addition to that, that youngsters are now
starting to smoke at 10 and 11 years of age. That is a grade 4 or grade 5
student having a cigarette. When you ask young people, they all say, "No,
no, I don't smoke," but the evidence is all around the school yards, the
hockey arenas and the other places young people go.
Senator Pearson: In clause 4 of the bill, under "Purpose", you talk
about enhancing public awareness of health hazards. That relates to labelling
and so on. I suppose that in a bill of this sort it is not possible to include
more proactive measures. We know that your department has a tobacco reducing
strategy, but this particular problem has two dimensions. One is to reduce
access; the second is to reduce demand. I have observed the reactions of many
young people, including those of my own children. Of course advertising
enhances their interest to start smoking, but that is not the only reason they
start. There are other things happening with them.
This is not totally relevant to the bill, but I am concerned that as we discuss
this bill we do not send them the message that we think that by taking tobacco
away from them we will have addressed this other problem.
Mr. Dingwall: There are a number of questions there. First, you are correct that
the package itself is a very important aspect of promoting the product and its
consumption. We looked extensively at the possibility of moving to a generic
type of packaging. However, at the end of the day, my decision, based on the
best legal advice I could get, was that there would be legal problems in terms
of the Charter, trademark and what have you. Therefore, we did not move on the
idea of generic packaging.
The standing committee that examined this issue received no representations from
the tobacco manufacturers. They failed to appear.
Generic packaging is not included. However, we have tried to provide on the
package the facts as we now know them. As we obtain additional facts and
information, we can require that they be included on the package as well.
We hope to be able to do a variety of more proactive types of advertisements,
either on the package or associated with the package. It is interesting,
however, that young people tell us, through focus groups and polling, that the
best way to get young people to stop smoking is through peer pressure. Peer
pressure is one of the reasons many young people start smoking in the first
place. They do not want a 40-year-old man in a suit and tie telling them not to
smoke. They would much prefer to hear one of their peers telling them the bad
effects of tobacco smoking.
Therefore, we are going to embark upon a number of programs. In fact, we are
already in the field working with young people. One of the best avenues for
that is through music. That is why we have put emphasis on MuchMusic to try to
get young people tuned in to the problems.
Senator Nolin: Is it possible for us to have the results of the polls you took
and the executive summaries of them that were provided to you or your
Mr. Dingwall: Yes.
Senator Milne: Minister, I am somewhat like Senator Pearson in that I watched my
favourite uncle die of lung cancer. Therefore, I have a great deal of sympathy
for anything that bans or will decrease the use of tobacco.
There has been a lot of discussion by various groups, the arts and the sports
groups in particular, about tobacco sponsorships moving out of the country. If
they move out of the country, where will they go? What other countries
presently ban, in whole or in part, tobacco advertising? Have any of the
tobacco companies actually uttered this threat? Have you or your department
received anything to indicate that the tobacco companies are coming across with
You said that the tobacco companies need 100,000 new smokers every year to
support the habit. I have some concern about that. I think it is quite clear
that they need at least 44,000 new young smokers every year to replace the ones
that are dying off at the other end of the age scale.
Mr. Dingwall: The world community is wrestling with the whole issue of tobacco
consumption. Last year, at a meeting of the World Health Organization at which
193 countries were in attendance, a resolution in support of the countries who
are attempting within their respective jurisdictions to try to limit as best
they can, if not ban, tobacco advertising, was passed. It is a terrible health
problem throughout the world. It is a major problem here in Canada. The direct
cost to our health system is approximately $3.5 billion. This is something
which both provincial and federal ministers of health must take seriously.
Other countries that have embarked upon restrictions include France, where there
has been a total ban. The President of the United States has made it clear that
as of August 1998 there will be a total ban in the United States as well. Of
course, we in Canada have moved in conformity with the guidance of the Supreme
Court of Canada.
I think I would mislead my colleagues here if I indicated to you that I have
been approached by a tobacco company that has said explicitly, "If you do
A, B or C, we are gone." However, a number of their appendages and groups
they have sponsored have indicated in a very hostile way that if the
legislation is not changed they will lose their money.
Quite frankly, that is a corporate decision that tobacco companies will have to
make. However, they should keep in mind that Canadians have long memories. They
are the same crowd that have said they sponsor cultural and sports events not
to increase their profile within the community but to maintain a market share.
We are not banning the substance at all; nor are we banning the sponsorship or
the promotions. We are putting restrictions on them. It would be quite a
contradiction on their part if they were to pull their support from these
There may be other reasons which will enter into their corporate decision as to
why they may or may not support a particular event. I recall for senators what
du Maurier did. They made a decision to give up the sponsorship of the Canadian
Open. Within a very short period of time, Bell Canada became the major sponsor
of that event.
I have not had that kind of suggestion put before me as you have described,
Senator Losier-Cool: I will probably repeat what Senator Pearson has said and
what you have talked about, minister, in terms of reiterating the importance of
education and prevention. In another meeting of our committee, members of
student councils told us that students who have not started smoking in grade 9
probably will not start smoking. Young girls tell us that they smoke to enhance
their self-esteem or to cut their appetite so that they will not gain weight.
These are all values that I think could be enhanced in a good prevention
program. They also told us how young children will convince their parents to
stop smoking. They say, "I will not go in the car if you smoke." These
are all positive approaches. When this bill is passed, I hope we can use the
opportunity to put out a good prevention program.
Mr. Dingwall: I concur, senator. Education and prevention are very important.
However, there is now an environment in the country, because of the success of
the tobacco companies, which glamorizes tobacco consumption. Young people are
its biggest victims. They have succumbed to that glorifying of smoking, whether
to lose weight or look sexier or because it is the cool thing to do. The tobacco
companies have been very successful.
As I said at the end of my statement, this particular piece of legislation is
not the panacea. As legislators, we have to try to help moms and dads by
limiting, as much as we possibly can, that environment that is out there. We
have to demonize, if you will, the smoking habit, as opposed to allowing this
glorification to go on. By doing that, in conjunction with educational and
prevention programs, particularly those directed by young people for young
people, I think we will be successful. It will be done in the hockey arenas and
in the schools and the school yards. It will be done in gymnastics classes.
That is where it will be done. However, we have to rid ourselves of the
billboards and other means of glorification of the smoking habit.
Senator Gigantès: I am sure the very clever and successful businessmen
who run the tobacco companies and who make big profits have not asked the
distinguished constitutional expert Senator Beaudoin to allow the names of
their products to appear on himself as he walks around. I am sure the same is
true of a Nobel Prize winner like Dr. Polanyi; or the very distinguished, able
and effective Leader of the Opposition, Senator Lynch-Staunton. They pick motor
car racers and healthy, beautifully built young tennis players to do that. Why?
Mr. Dingwall: That goes back to the sophistication of the marketing capability
of the companies in question. Nike looks at the price, the product, and the
place to determine how they will tailor their promotion. With tobacco, it is
the same thing. If the price is a little bit lower, then it is more accessible.
If the product is advertised in a certain way, then it will hit its market. What
they have done, consistently and persistently, is give this glorified
perception that it is okay to smoke and nothing will happen. "Look,
so-and-so is doing it." We see it in paraphernalia, whether it be hats,
buttons, jackets or T-shirts. It is everywhere. Therefore, it must be cool, and
young people say, "Fine, we will try it."
Senator Gigantès: The images they pick are images that attract young
people. They pick a young race car driver who has a beautiful machine that he
drives around and who is then embraced by girls when he wins. That seems to be
the dream of young boys when testosterone prevails over blood in their veins.
Is that not why they pick those images?
Mr. Dingwall: Senator, I am not an expert in this.
Senator Nolin: Neither is he.
Senator Gigantès: I died in 1990; this is a posthumous statement on my
Mr. Dingwall: I would like to take that question as notice. Perhaps Senator
Nolin and I could have a consultation on it.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Minister Dingwall, there seems to be one group of
Canadians who have been neglected in this debate so far. That is the thousands
and thousands of retailers, many of whom depend for their livelihood on the
sale of cigarettes. According to the representations seen by you and others,
that figure is up to 50 per cent in some cases. They will face additional costs
to abide by the new display restrictions. They will need higher inventory since
they cannot display more than one pack at a time. Also they will be losing the
tobacco allowances to promote the cigarettes. I read somewhere that represents
up to $60 million per year. There will be a negative economic impact on many
innocent victims of this law.
I was wondering why they have not been given a phase-out period during which to
adjust, in the same way that those who benefit from tobacco sponsorships have
been given up to two years. It seems to me that those who can least afford the
impact of this law are not being given any grace period or any phase-out
period. Yet those who apparently benefit tremendously from tobacco sponsorships
are being given two years.
There seems to be a contradiction there which benefits the richer and penalizes
those who can least afford the effects of this law.
Mr. Dingwall: We may have to agree to disagree on certain provisions of the bill
and the intent therein as it relates to retailers. We drafted the legislation
in such a way as to ensure that, as a stakeholder, they will have ample
opportunity to discuss with us the regulations that will affect them.
I cannot let this opportunity to act go by. I am the Minister of Health. There
are $3.5 billion being paid each and every year by Jean Rochon in the province
of Quebec, by Mr. Wilson in the province of Ontario, by Mr. Boudreau in the
province of Nova Scotia in medicare costs. These are direct costs as a result
of the consumption of tobacco.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: That is not the issue. We agree with all that. We are
not questioning your figures. We are making sure that what you are doing here
Mr. Dingwall: Madam Chair, I wonder if I could just finish? I do not want this
to be an argumentative session but I --
Senator Lynch-Staunton: You are in your natural element when you are that way.
The Chair: Let the minister finish, please.
Mr. Dingwall: I do want to say to the senator that that is very important. That
must override and must be more important than the concerns of the retailer or
the organizers of a particular event. The health of Canadians must be first and
foremost. The health of our children must be first and foremost. That is the
intent behind this bill. We will do everything reasonable to work with those
individuals. However, at the end of the day, if we are to put one against the
other, I must stand on the side of health.
Senator Nolin: There is one question that the department officials cannot
answer. Have you talked to Minister Rochon before or since tabling this piece
Mr. Dingwall: Yes, I talked to him.
Senator Nolin: What were the contents of your discussion?
Mr. Dingwall: I am not at liberty to share with senators, or even with my
colleagues in the House of Commons, discussions that I have with ministers of
the Crown. I do not think that would be appropriate to reveal what he has said
or what he has not said. I do not think that would be fair to him.
Senator Nolin: If Minister Rochon were to appear here, you would have no problem
with him giving us the content of that discussion?
Mr. Dingwall: Not at all. You could ask the Ministers of Health from Ontario or
British Columbia or Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. They all support this
Senator Nolin: Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Dingwall.
Mr. Dingwall is leaving; however, the rest of the panel will remain for further
I have a question regarding education programs. I recognize that the bill itself
does not address them. Like most other senators, I also have children. My
eldest daughter, who is now 28, received no-smoking education programs in
grades 4, 5, 6 and 7. My youngest daughter, who is 24, did not get a single
no-smoking education program in the four years that she was in school in that
same time frame.
It seemed at some period in time that we decided we had solved this problem,
that we had convinced the kids that they should not smoke because they will get
cancer, so we need not continue with this particular program because they had
all bought into the fact that they will get lung cancer if they smoke.
Has there been any consultation between the Department of Health and the
education departments of the provinces to find out just what is going on in
terms of school programs that discourage young people, through using peers and
older young people who have taken it up and have given it up, or through using
I know, for example, that in the object lesson which most impressed my eldest
daughter, she was shown three different lungs, one which had never seen a
cigarette, one which had seen a number of cigarettes and one which was the
result of a death by cancer. She came home convinced that day that she simply
was not going to take up cigarettes. What can you tell us about this?
Mr. André Juneau, Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy and Consultation
Branch, Health Canada: Since Senator Nolin and the minister talked about their
children, I will mention that my 23-year-old son did get lots of education
about smoking in Ontario. That suggests that the programs, perhaps
unfortunately, vary from province to province.
We have been talking naturally to our counterparts in the provinces on a regular
basis. They, in turn, have been talking with their educational authorities. In
addition, we have a wide range of contacts with non-governmental organizations,
national, regional, and local, who are deeply involved with various programs,
many of them school-based.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: My question relates to clauses 36 and 39. Clause 36 will
allow, except in the case of a dwelling place, an inspector to enter premises
and to inspect without a warrant. That obviously makes sense since it is a
commercial establishment and is open to the public.
Clause 39(1) says:
During an inspection under this Act, an inspector may seize any tobacco product
or other thing by means of which or in relation to which the inspector believes
on reasonable grounds that this Act has been contravened.
I see no requirement there for a warrant for that seizure. Am I correct?
Mr. Chris McNaught, Counsel, Legal Services, Health Canada: I would never want
to say that the senator was wrong.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: But I hope I am wrong.
Mr. McNaught: With respect, the legal interpretation of that particular
provision, senator, is within the context of all the provisions in this part
respecting so-called search and seizure. That means it is being carried on in
an administrative mode only. Where, for example, as you just indicated, senator,
they see something that they believe, on reasonable grounds, has contravened
the act, the perceived contravention does not necessitate prosecution. That is
not an automatic follow-up. It is a seizure or a determination of contravention
which is in relation to the administrative or non-prosecutorial functions of
the regulator under its mandate.
In that sense, the Supreme Court has clearly set out which lines must not be
crossed by regulating authorities when carrying out their inspection duties.
For example, in food- or public-health-related statutes -- I think you yourself
mentioned this, senator -- there is a level of expectation of privacy that goes
with the territory. In other words, if you are dealing with food that may be
contaminated, then the Supreme Court has recognized that the enforcement
authority should have requisite administrative authority simply to seize,
forfeit, or destroy, or to do whatever the mandated activity requires.
However, wherever prosecution is contemplated -- or quasi-criminal proceedings,
as people sometimes refer to them in this area -- in other words, where the
process is evidence-gathering with a view to laying charges, then the Criminal
Code and the associated criminal law requires that the enforcement authority
have a warrant. That type of requirement in the criminal mode, senator, is
always there and does not need to be expressed explicitly in the bill.
Therefore, everything that is stated here, subject to the provision that a
warrant is necessary from a justice of the peace to go into a dwelling place
where there is no consent of the owner, is concerned entirely with the
administrative mode of inspection. It has nothing to do with prosecution.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: In the case of a seizure of contaminated or unhealthy
food, there is usually a charge made for contravening whatever health code or
act may be in force in that particular jurisdiction. I do not see anything here
where, following the seizure of a tobacco product or a related good, the Crown
need pursue it. As I read it now -- and I want you to tell me if I am wrong --
it seems that the one from whom the goods are seized must make application to
the judge for the retrieval of his goods. The onus is on the one from whom the
goods have been taken to make application that he should have them back rather
than on the inspector who seized them to then follow the normal procedure,
which would be to lay a charge because there has been a contravention of the
Mr. McNaught: In an imperfect world, senator, I believe we are both correct,
with respect. In other words, there is some onus on the person from whom the
goods were seized. The person subject to the regulation has some sort of
obligation upon them if they want to get their goods back. Nevertheless, there
is a process expressed in the act for them to recover their goods. They can make
an application for restoration, and certainly their goods so seized cannot be
forfeited absolutely without an order of the court. There is still that
residual judicial consideration of the matter. There is, to be realistic, an
annoyance factor; nevertheless, the court still can review and consider the
matter. It is not just a hijacking of the retailers' goods.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: I do not think the word "hijacking" is too
strong, because an inspector could, on his own, decide that some section of the
act, should it pass, is being contravened and he could seize everything and cut
into a basic part of the livelihood of the retailer and take the goods away and
put them in storage. All the retailer would get is a notice saying, "I have
seized your goods. If you want them back, here is the law." I find that to
be the strongest reverse-onus provision I have yet to see. There is another
reverse-onus provision here which we have seen elsewhere, but this one, if it
is categorized as such, certainly takes away the presumption of innocence to a
Mr. McNaught: The presumption of innocence, of course, is a phrase or concept or
principle that relates to prosecution, and this situation does not address
prosecution. I would suggest that your very understandable concern is focusing
on some type of discretionary abuse by the enforcement authorities. In that
regard, whether it is administrative or criminal, it is still subject to court
review. It is one thing for the government to set out in its legislation the
permissible ambit of inspectors' duties and their mandated functions and so on.
It is another where an individual may abuse it or improperly exercise their
discretion, and, of course, there are numerous provisions in the law for a
review of that type of activity.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: You have not convinced me, although I appreciate your
explanation. The court review will only take place if the one from whom the
goods are seized asks for it. There is no obligation on the inspector to force
a court review and to prove in court that what he did was satisfactory. It is
up to the retailer. If he does not follow a procedure within 60 days, he can
lose all his goods.
I think I made the point, and hopefully we will be able to get into that with
other experts to come. I thank you for your explanations. They have been very
Senator Nolin: Mr. Juneau, as for the reasons that compel young people to take
up smoking, Mr. Dingwall referred to different alternative solutions, such as
plain packaging. At the end of his presentation, he mentioned the price issue.
I understood that the price does influence young people. If the price is low,
then the product is more accessible to them; however, if the price is higher,
there is less of an incentive to take up smoking. Have you examined
alternatives such as increasing prices or raising taxes?
Mr. Juneau: Yes, this is one option that we have looked at. You will also recall
that the Minister of Finance, as well as some of his provincial counterparts,
announced a price increase a short while ago.
Senator Nolin: Mr. Dingwall mentioned how young people are influenced by
cigarette prices. At what price do cigarettes become less attractive? Are the
tobacco taxes announced by the Minister of Finance high enough?
Mr. Juneau: I understand your question a little better. Yes, we have examined
this issue. It does not lend itself to easy conclusions. However, we know that
young people are more vulnerable when prices are lower. We know that they are
more sensitive to a price increase than adults. What we cannot say for certain
is at which point the price becomes high enough to dissuade people in a certain
age group or with a certain income from smoking. Studies conducted by economists
on price elasticity are not that accurate. Studies have been done which show
that young people are affected by price fluctuations.
Senator Nolin: Two years ago, the Minister of Finance drastically cut taxes and
the excise duty on cigarettes. Do you have any data showing how this decision
affected cigarette consumption?
Mr. Juneau: We recall the precise moment the tax cut came into effect, that is
in February 1994.
Senator Nolin: That was three years ago.
Mr. Juneau: That is correct. We surveyed a sample group of young people at the
time and conducted four more such surveys in the following year and reviewed
the results of previous years' surveys. We can share our findings with
committee members. However, we must caution you that it is not always easy to
gauge the impact that different factors have. We attempted to do this, but we
cannot be certain of the exact reasons for the higher levels of tobacco
consumption. Young people are influenced by a host of factors. However, we will
be happy to share our findings with you.
Senator Nolin: Clearly, the information or data gleaned from these surveys was
not conclusive enough to serve as measures for curbing tobacco consumption?
Mr. Juneau: I am not certain that I understand your question.
Senator Nolin: Did you seriously consider this option? Was the decision on the
part of the finance minister to increase taxes merely a tax grab or a
reflection of the government's or minister's desire to curb tobacco consumption
by young people?
Mr. Juneau: I do not have the data with me, but when the last increase was
announced, both the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Health, Mr.
Dingwall, indicated that this increase was consistent with the government's
tobacco consumption reduction strategy.
Senator Beaudoin: My question is for the legal advisor. It is about clause 60.
The minister may enter into equivalency agreements with the province where
there are in force under the laws of that province provisions equivalent to the
provisions of this bill. I find that very interesting.
My question is very simple. This statute is in both languages because it is a
federal statute. However, if you enter into an agreement with a province that
is not subject to bilingualism at the provincial level, will you enter into the
agreement in both official languages? I presume you will, but I am just asking
Mr. McNaught: With respect, senator, that may be less a legal question than a
policy question. I might defer to Mr. Juneau on that, but I am prepared to
answer other legal aspects of your question.
Senator Beaudoin: It may be a legal question because it is taking the place of
the federal statute.
Mr. Juneau: You're asking if agreements concluded with the provinces are drafted
in both official languages?
Senator Beaudoin: Yes.
Mr. Juneau: From my experience, I would answer yes. In the past, I have had
occasion to enter into agreements with the provinces or to advise ministers on
this matter. Whether we were dealing with Quebec or with other provinces,
federal agreements were always drafted in both official languages.
Senator Beaudoin: I would hope so, because these take the place of a federal
statute. Since statutes are drafted in both official languages, it would seem
to me that anything that purports to take their place should also be in both
Senator Gigantès: Are you saying that if Quebec were to enter into a
similar agreement with the federal government, its billboards warning against
tobacco consumption should be in both official languages?
Mr. Juneau: The agreements mentioned in the clause to which Senator Beaudoin
referred have to do with the sharing of inspection duties. I do not think they
have anything to do with notices banning the sale of tobacco.
Senator Gigantès: No? I see.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: My question relates to sponsorships. I have difficulty
understanding the reasoning behind this. If the limitation of tobacco
sponsorships in clause 71 is part and parcel of an overall approach to the
advertising, marketing and promotion of tobacco products, why did the
government agree to delay that part for two years? I interpret that as meaning
that the promotion of tobacco products by sponsorship is not crucial in someone
determining to take up smoking. We can let it ride for a couple of years and
hope everything sorts itself out. I would have been more impressed had the
government stuck to its guns and said no, all that we have now before us in its
original form stays. I was quite surprised that the government allowed this
portion -- not that I disagree with it -- to be weakened and delayed two years.
I would like to know why that was done.
Mr. Juneau: I am sorry you did not ask that question of the minister.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: That is why he ran away, I guess. He knew I was coming
Mr. Juneau: I will let senators draw their own conclusions on that observation.
Senator Doyle: To each his own.
Mr. Juneau: I think it is question, as I said, that should have been asked of
the minister. From a technical point of view, the question you raise is: If it
is serious enough, why not have it come into force right away? You know as well
as anyone else what concerns were expressed about the coming into force of this
clause of the bill, particularly by event organizers in the Montreal area. The
only answer I can give you is that an implementation period running to October
1998 is reasonable in the circumstances and does not detract from the main
purpose of the bill.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: I did not want to put you on the spot because, obviously
by your careful answer, it is a political decision and the minister should be
the one to answer it.
In your studies on the impact of sponsorships -- and I am not trying to be smart
here -- I would like to know whether Du Maurier lost sales when they gave up
golf and whether Bell Canada increased sales. I would like to know if Labatt
Breweries increased their sales because of the Labatt Brier. I would like to
know if Honda sells more cars because of the Honda Classic. I could go on and
on. Let us consider the Molson Centre or the O'Keefe Centre. I want to know how
identifying any product with any event or any building sparks one's interest in
that product to the extent that they will introduce themselves to it. This
seems to be the main argument we are given in favour of limiting tobacco
sponsorships to such an extent that some companies tell us, rightly or wrongly,
that they will get a smaller return on a sponsorship than they are getting now.
The government's answer seems to be that this will help in our program to
reduce smoking and particularly encourage the young not to take it up. I fail
to see where having "Du Maurier" on a sign or an event or on the back
of a ticket will incite someone to do what we do not want them to do, whether
we are talking about cigarettes, beer, telephones or whatever.
Mr. Juneau: A number of data elements are relevant to your question, as well as
a number of other points.
In the surveys we have done of young people, we found that Canadians aged 10 to
19 who smoke tend to be most aware of the three to five brands of cigarettes
that are most heavily promoted. There seems to be a connection between what
brands are promoted in one form or another and what brands children or young
As well, we have done surveys to see the extent to which children or young
people can identify brand names without having the brand name mentioned to
them. We show them the logo and ask them to identify the brand name, and they
can. We have also done surveys which show that young people believe that
sponsorship promotion is a form of advertising.
Those are elements of an answer to your question, senator.
We do not know the answer to the first part of your question, namely, to what
extent sales of certain companies have gone up as a result of their promotion.
I do not believe they have shared that data with us, but you may want to ask
them if they appear here.
It is difficult for us to understand why one would be in the sponsorship
promotion business if it was not designed somehow or other to advance the
commercial interests of the firms in question, just as other firms engage in
comparable marketing techniques.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: I will pursue that line of questioning. My feeling so
far is that you do not take up smoking because you see Gilles Villeneuve with a
Rothman's logo on his chest. You smoke Rothman's because you are already
smoking and Gilles Villeneuve is sponsoring it.
I would like to refer all of you in the department to testimony given yesterday
before the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology
which was looking at Senator Haidasz's bill. A number of students there said
that smoking actually started, in many cases, between the ages of 8 and 11 and
that much of the influence was the attraction of cigarette ads in the
background in movies and on television, or seeing some of their favourite stars
smoking. The question is a very complex one, and just picking on one element
without looking at the overall influence that leads young people to smoke may
unfortunately lead us beside the mark in our attempts to control that.
Mr. Juneau: With respect, senator, I think that is somewhat unfair. The minister
in his statement, and the material that the department has put out, made it
very clear that we do not believe that a single element causes young people to
start smoking. The minister was absolutely explicit on his understanding and
his analysis of the decision to smoke and the factors that enter into it.
You will recall that one of his points in closing was that he hopes that by
passing this legislation, which touches on sponsorship, advertising, access,
and labelling, Parliament will assist parents in their job. With the greatest
of respect, we have never claimed that sponsorship was the only factor or even
the main factor. We believe that it is part of the total environment that
incites young people to smoke, and we think it ought to be restricted.
The Chair: I thank the witnesses for remaining after the minister. I understand
we may hear from you again at the end of our witness list, and we look forward
to seeing you at that time.
Senators, tomorrow we will hear Professor Gall from the Faculty of Law at the
University of Alberta and Professor Lessard from the Faculty of Law at the
University of Victoria. They have been asked to set the constitutional stage
for us. You will remember that we did this with two professors on the issue of
Term 17. We asked them to go through the constitutional processes and to put
before us the questions they thought we should be asking. We have decided to do
the same thing in setting the stage tomorrow in terms of the constitutional
questions that should be asked to make sure that in our view the bill meets
those constitutional tests. I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow morning at