Conservatives Talk Tobacco Control But Slash Program

In the August 2012 issue of Tobacco Info, Geoffrey Lansdell reports on the Conservative government's decision to slash its tobacco control budget by $15 million this year: "Over the last six years, the government's tobacco control budget has dropped by $40 million, from $68 million in 2006 to $28 million for the 2012 fiscal year."

This cut came on the heels of record tobacco tax revenues of $3 billion.  The current tobacco control budget thus represents less than 1% of tax revenues collected from Canadian smokers. Put another way, From January 1 to January 3, cigarette taxes contribute toward federal tobacco control programs.  For the remainder of the year, Harper's government does whatever it wants with this cash grab.

The US Centers for Disease Control recommend that governments should spend $6 per capita to sustain a comprehensive tobacco control program.  The $28 million in federal funding represents just 81 cents per capita.

The cuts were roundly criticized by the Canadian Cancer Society, the Non-Smokers Rights Association, the Ottawa Heart Institute, the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, the Canadian Medical Association, and on and on.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq described the cuts as a refocusing of the program on populations with higher smoking rates, in particular aboriginal populations.  What is doubly tragic about this statement is that the Minister, an aboriginal Canadian herself, is presiding over a reinstatement of the First Nations and Inuit Tobacco Control Strategy with only $5 million in annual funding, half the level of funding for the program that was suspended shortly after the Conservatives took office in 2006.


Conservative Sights Trained on NDP

With soaring poll numbers favouring Mulcair and the NDP (Ipsos' pollForum's poll, Nanos' poll), the Liberals can finally enjoy a reprieve from being the target of Conservative Spindoctrination.™­ It is now Thomas Mulcair who is the target of the attack.

Congratulations, Mulcair.  You've Come a Long Way, Baby.


George Will on The Donald and other Colbert Treats

Tonight on Colbert, Colbert quotes George Will "who said this, this week, on this week's This Week:"

George Will: The cost of appearing with this bloviating ignoramus is obvious it seems to me: Donald Trump is redundant evidence that if your net worth is high enough that your IQ can be very low and you can still intrude into American politics.

Colbert also drops some Latin for you Classical Nerds, quoting Cato the Elder's "Carthago delenda est" (Carthage must be destroyed).  Then he dismisses his audience's lukewarm response with: "De gustibus non est disputandum (In matters of taste, there can be no disputes).

Colbert finds the silver-lining in Egypt's Presidential runoff between Mohamed Morsy and Ahmed Shafiq:  "Nobody likes either candidate; angry protesters are screaming in the streets; and only 46% of registered voters went to the polls--which means Egypt finally has achieved American-style democracy....Because democracy isn't about getting everything you want.  It's about not getting most of what you don't want."


Murphy: Mulcair Threatens The Confederation

"Why is Mr Mulcair so very early in the game insulting premiers, attacking the West, and setting up, if he continues this tack, the worst possible outcome: frictions within the confederation, between East and West, Quebec and Alberta, provinces and the federal government?

"It is the most divisive debut of any opposition leader I can recall, and potentially very dangerous to Confederation."

Rex Murphy, CBC The National, 17 May 2012


Zoellick: The Best Antidote to Poverty Is Growth

Global Public Square interview with outgoing World Bank Chief Robert Zoellick.

Fareed Zakaria:
What do you think is the answer to overcoming poverty.

Robert Zoellick:
Growth is still the best antidote for poverty, but one of the things we’ve learned over the years is that growth is not enough so we talk about inclusive growth.  That means you need all the components: you need the environment for private sector investment, you need the opportunity for creating jobs through companies.  But at the same time, what inclusive growth means to me is that you also need an efficient social safety net, so that when the vicissitudes of economies or world events strike that  people at the bottom aren’t crushed, or you don’t lose a generation to improper nutrition or education.


Getting Real on Afghanistan

Fareed Zakaria, on CNN's Global Public Square or GPS, gives a depressing reality check on Afghanistan. He wraps up with the following indcitment of the current American approach:

"The United States could, of course, maintain its current approach, which is to bet on the success of not one but two large nation-building projects. We have to create an effective national government in Kabul that is loved and respected by all Afghans, whatever their ethnicity, and expand the Afghan economy so that a large national army and police force are sustainable for the long run.

"To succeed, we would also have to alter Pakistan's basic character, create a civilian-dominated state that could shift the strategic orientation of the Islamabad government so that it shuts down the Taliban sanctuaries and starts fighting the very groups it has created and supported for at least three decades. Does anyone really think this is going to happen?"