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OPINION: A horrible, smelly habit

Frank Morrison, tobacco-free project manager with Recreation P.E.I. and a board member with Smoke-Free P.E.I., gives a presentation to Montague council late last month. Morrison said Montague is one of several communities in P.E.I. looking at expanding smoke-free policies into bylaws.
Frank Morrison, tobacco-free project manager with Recreation P.E.I. and a board member with Smoke-Free P.E.I., gives a presentation to Montague council. Morrison said Montague is one of several communities in P.E.I. looking at expanding smoke-free policies into bylaws. - Mitch MacDonald

Opportunity for remarkable Canadian move: make all of P.E.I. alcohol and tobacco free

BY GEORGE CLARK-DUNNING

GUEST OPINION

I saw on our evening news recently that the government and Smoke Free P.E.I. are talking about where people can and cannot smoke. I am in total agreement.

Smoking is a horrible, smelly habit. The government made Legion’s smoke free. Damn the fact that veterans of war can have a cigarette with a beer. Make seniors move out of a building that goes smoke free if they don’t stop. Where will they go? I’m sure government has a plan on that.

We have an opportunity right now to make a remarkable, one of a kind, purely Canadian move: make all of P.E.I. alcohol and tobacco free. Think about it. All of the Island as fresh smelling and as alcohol free as Vatican City. Wait, bad example.

We read in the newspaper most days of people being stopped and charged for drunk driving. Some people, it’s a second, third, or even forth offence.

Alcohol is the demon drink. It causes relationships to end, partners and children to be beaten.

Half the cost of a package of cigarettes is tax. I’m not sure of the breakdown as to how much is federal and how much is provincial, but it’s tax.

I read recently that the tax on beer is half the cost. Well, that’s hard on the wallet of the beer drinker. Suggestions: stop buying it. Just quit drinking. That’s the approach to smoking cigarettes, just quit and save money.

Think about it: alcohol is an unhealthy product. Taxing it out of the reach of the common person would have nothing but good results. The possibility of no more drinking and driving, spousal and child abuse. The list of benefits goes on.

What a great idea. Making something too expensive for people to afford it and they will stop buying it.

Tobacco is a chemical addiction, as is alcoholism. Chemical addiction is just mind over matter, right? Nancy Reagan’s “just say no” was a massive success on the war on drugs.

Government is all over the addictions issue; it’s practically non-existent in P.E.I.

Taxing is the way to go. Tax it all. I mean, the HST 14 per cent is barely covering traffic circles in P.E.I. All the new schools we need, the care of seniors in hospitals, mental health, the sweet pensions and infrastructure can all wait.

If people stopped buying sin tax products like cigarettes and alcohol, it would be really interesting to see what government would find a tax for: being cold in winter? Suffering from season defecate disorder? Depression? Living below the poverty level?

And wait until the carbon tax is announced. Two dollars or more a litre for gas and furnace oil. Whatever the financial shortfall, the government can make up on carbon tax.

Our open, transparent government is looking after us all. It’s like Eden, except colder, grayer and lots more snakes.

Captain Smith is at the wheel and its full steam ahead. (Captain Edward John Smith what the captain of the Titanic). Think about it.

- George Clark-Dunning of Cavendish is a retired hotelier and current P.E.I. marriage commissioner.

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