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The World Health Organization is pulling out all the stops in its effort to turn public opinion against the tobacco industry. Its campaign will launch "monitoring centres" in cities across the world, tasked with unmasking the tactics of the tobacco industry and its attempts to "interfere" with public health policy.
A report released today by the University of Victoria's Environmental Law Centre calls for sweeping reform of Canadian charitable law in line with other jurisdictions such as the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and England. Current rules around "political activity" are confusing and create an "intolerable state of uncertainty," the report says.
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The tendency for governments to increasingly regulate the advertising industry, whether in the name of consumer protection or for health concerns, is already on full throttle. After cigarette packs, don't be surprised if sooner or later you see plain bags of chips on the shelves of convenience stores, or plain-packaged chocolate bars. Politicians stand on a steep, slippery slope that could lead to private property and intellectual property violations, and destruction of brands. The economic consequences should be weighted carefully. And such policies backed by solid empirical data, not merely good intentions.
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Those approaches, for unhealthy eating in particular, can be a real challenge, because they bang hard against the reactor core of our economic system -- consumption. Consumption and lots of it. Like tobacco, the fight for healthy eating will challenge the heart of what companies do: sell as much as they can.
And as nations are just starting to get their heads around how to solve the obesity crisis, surely we shouldn't dump everything out of our toolbox before the real work has even started. We need to keep our public policy options open, to make room for initiatives to clean up a food environment that is literally killing us.
Because countries often have differing political and economic systems, agreements are needed to protect those invested in trade. Canada has signed numerous deals. Treaties, agreements and organizations to help settle disputes may be necessary, but they often favour the interests of business over citizens.
TORONTO - The Ontario government has scored a victory in its ongoing battle to recoup $50 billion in health-care costs from tobacco companies.The province launched a lawsuit against a group of 14 Cana...
TORONTO - Tobacco companies targeted in a $50-billion lawsuit by the Ontario government are expected to argue they're outside the province's jurisdiction.The director of the anti-smoking group Ontario...