It’s been called one of the strongest anti-tobacco legislations in the country, possibly even the continent and two weeks ago in Bonnyville three people running for the leadership of the PC Party put their approval on the bill.
Bill 206, the Tobacco Reduction Act, which restricts the sale of flavoured tobacco products, has been sitting on a shelf in the legislative assembly since it was given royal assent in December 2013.
The bill needs to be proclaimed a law before it goes into effect, so a local group, Lloydminster Flavour Gone, has been pushing the Alberta government to proclaim the bill to get it into force.
Jim Prentice, Thomas Lukaszuk and Ric McIver, the three men running for the leadership of the governing PC Party, all agreed that the need to proclaim this bill is long overdue.
Prentice went as far to say that it was the right thing to do for the health of the children in the province. Lukaszuk said that if politicians pass bills and they are given royal assent they shouldn’t be waiting around on a shelf somewhere, but should be enacted right away. McIver agreed with both men and added that he would look at proclaiming it sooner rather than later.
Jianna Marin, a co-founder of Lloydminster Flavour Gone, said that the news of the three men endorsing the bill was great news and one step closer to getting the bill into law.
“Basically with them supporting this and wanting to see its proclamation, means to me that this government needs to proclaim it,” she said.
“The way that I see this government now is that they are the ones that made this promise to the youth, and protect them from flavoured tobacco, and they are the ones that need to follow through on their promise.”
With a leadership race on Sept. 6, Marin said that she is hoping to keep the flame alive for the bill and hopes the candidates keep their words on proclaiming it soon after they take office.
“(If) Sept. 3 rolls by and the current government (under Premier Dave Hancock) has not proclaimed the bill, then we will be trying to get an appointment with the new premier, tracking him down and trying to find out what the next step will be,” said Marin.
Marin said that while she understands that the new premier might have more issues to deal with, she hopes that with the acknowledgement of the bill being a priority, they might take the issue serious enough and proclaim the bill.
“We will definitely be trying to get them to act on this issue quickly,” she said.
Marin said that while she is sure that one of the three men would be truthful to their words, she isn’t sure what to fully expect when any of the three men are sworn in as premier next week.
“I sure hope they are being honest, but I know what the game is and I don’t really blame them for playing it, because everyone would if they were in their shoes,” she said.
Marin admitted that if it doesn’t get proclaimed soon, the group’s hard work over the last number of years will be pushed back to step one and they will have to start over with a new government.
“We are very concerned time is running out for these governments to proclaim these bills, and we are urging the government to at least proclaim Bill 206 immediately and without exemption, to protect Alberta’s youth from flavoured tobacco products,” she said.