Calling for a total ban on the sale of cigarettes:
Dave Bedford sent this letter to the Canadian Minister of Health on May 15, 2000, and received the two replies that follow it on September 11, 2000 and September 18, 2000.

May 15, 2000


The Honourable Allan Rock
Minister of Health
Minister's Office - Health Canada
Brooke Claxton Bldg., Tunney's Pasture
A.L. 0913A
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1A 0K9

Re: Your breach of trust causing death of people of Canada

Dear Mr. Allan Rock:

I am writing to warn you that I may proceed with laying an information regarding your breach of trust as a public officer. The information that I have to lay is presented in this letter.

It is my position that you, as Minister of Health, by your actions regarding not prohibiting the sale of certain tobacco products, namely cigarettes, that you have breached your trust as a public officer as contrary to s. 122 of the Criminal Code--which states:

s. 122. Every official who, in connection with the duties of his office, commits fraud or a breach of trust is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, whether or not the fraud or breach of trust would be an offence if it were committed in relation to a private person.

As Minister of Heath you are directed by the Department of Health Act, from which I quote:

s. 1(2) The Minister holds office during pleasure and has the management and direction of the Department.

s. 4(1) The powers, duties and functions of the Minister extend to and include all matters over which Parliament has jurisdiction relating to the promotion and preservation of the health of the people of Canada not by law assigned to any other department, board or agency of the Government of Canada.

s. 4(2) Without restricting the generality of subsection (1), the Minister's powers, duties and functions relating to health include the following matters:

s. 4(2)(a) the administration of such Acts of Parliament and of orders or regulations of the Government of Canada as are not by law assigned to any other department of the Government of Canada or any minister of that Government relating in any way to the health of the people of Canada;

s. 4(2)(a.1) the promotion and preservation of the physical, mental and social well-being of the people of Canada;

s. 4(2)(b) the protection of the people of Canada against risks to health and the spreading of diseases.

As well, you should appreciate that you have known since before July, 1997 that the use of certain tobacco products cause fatal diseases. The Tobacco Act which falls within the jurisdiction of your department in fact states in s. 4(a), that there is "conclusive evidence implicating tobacco use in the incidence of numerous debilitating and fatal diseases." In light of this fact, I take the position that your continuing to allow the sale of said tobacco products on the open market offends said particulars of the Department of Health Act and indicates you as a co-conspirator along with the Minister of Finance, The Honourable Paul Martin, who is responsible for establishing federal excise taxes on cigarettes. By enabling the Government of Canada to profit from the sale of said tobacco products you and Mr. Martin have; a) disgraced Her Majesty by placing Her Majesty in a position of conflict of interest with said particulars of the Department of Health Act; and b) are aiding and abetting for mutual benefit, at the highest level, with suspected criminals within the tobacco industry.

As well, you should appreciate that the Department of Health Act must supercede the jurisdiction of the Tobacco Act as alluded to in s. 4(1) of the Department of Health Act quoted above, and that in many instances the courts have found failure to act in certain circumstances amounts criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

I will require the following:

1. On or before June 5, 2000, you will act within your authority as Minister of Health to cause the sale of said offending tobacco products on the open market to be prohibited.

2. On or before June 5, 2000, you will act within your authority as Minister of Health to cause said offending tobacco products to be removed or recalled from the open market.

3. On or before June 5, 2000, you will request the Minister of Finance to abolish the federal excise taxes on cigarettes immediately so as to eliminate to above mentioned conflict of interest situation.

Further, I request written assurances that you have complied with the above requests. If you comply with the letter and spirit of these requests, I am prepared to withhold from laying an information regarding these matters.

If you or your lawyer would like to discuss this matter, please donít hesitate to call. I look forward to an early resolution of this matter.

Yours sincerely,

David Robert Bedford
Burnaby, British Columbia

The Honourable Paul Martin, P.C., M.P.
Minister's Office - Finance Canada
140 O'Connor St., Ottawa, Canada
K1A 0G5

Minister of Health
Allan Rock 
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0K9

SEP 5   2000

Mr. David Robert Bedford
5317 Barker Avenue
Burnaby, British Columbia
V5H 2N6

Dear Mr. Bedford:

Thank you for your letter of May 15, 2000, concerning the banning of tobacco products. I regret that I was unable to reply earlier.

As Minister of Health, it is my  responsibility to address serious public health issues that put the well-being of Canadians at great risk. Each year, tobacco takes its toll on individual Canadians and on Canadaís health care system by causing over 45,000 tobacco-related deaths. This number is three times greater than the number of premature deaths caused by car accidents, suicides, drug abuse, murder, and AIDS combined.

The economic and social costs of smoking are well known by governments around the world and cannot be ignored. Illnesses caused by smoking cost our health care system in excess of $3.5 billion annually, which is a greater sum than the federal tax revenues collected from the sale of tobacco products. Tobacco use is responsible for countless numbers of illnesses among smokers and non-smokers alike, with tobacco- related cancer, in particular, causing a tremendous strain on health care budgets and, more importantly, untold suffering for patients and their families.

I have noted your request to have cigarettes banned completely. Ideally, it would be beneficial to be able to ban a product that has been proven to be extremely harmful to the health of those using it. Unfortunately, tobacco use was widely established before its tragic health consequences became known. Today, tobacco is consumed by over six million Canadians, many of whom are addicted. Studies show that tobacco can be harder to quit than heroin or cocaine. Due to its addictive nature and the number of people smoking, an outright ban on tobacco products would be difficult to implement and enforce. 

Health Canada has chosen to reduce the 
incidence of premature death and disabling illness related to smoking in this country through the Tobacco Control Initiative (TCI), which is a strong, balanced, and comprehensive approach to a pressing national health problem. The key components of the TCI are legislation and regulations, enforcement, research, and public education. The goal of the TCI is to improve the overall health and quality of life of Canadians, particularly young Canadians, through the reduction of tobacco-related illness and death by preventing non- smokers from starting to smoke, by protecting the health of non-smokers, and by encouraging and helping those who wish to quit smoking. This is the goal of my Departmentís aggressive tobacco control initiatives, programs, and strategies. As you might be aware, Health Canada is in the process of implementing tough new regulations on tobacco warning messages on cigarette packages.

Taxation is another important element of our tobacco control efforts as it clearly has been shown to reduce the consumption of tobacco products, particularly among youth. I am working with my colleague, the Honourable Paul Martin, Minister of Finance, to ensure that Canadaís tobacco product taxation policy is consistent with the Governmentís health objectives.

On December 21, 1999, the Government of Canada filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Federal Court against RJR-MacDonald Inc. and several others, including the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants were key players in a conspiracy to illegally smuggle tobacco products into Canada and seeks damages in the amount of US$1 billion as well as the surrendering of profits from the tobacco industryís unlawful conduct in the past and the cessation of these activities in the future.

I assure you that, as Minister of Health, I will continue promoting new measures that confirm Canadaís position as global leader in tobacco control.

Once again, thank you for writing.

Yours very truly,

Allan Rock

c.c.: The Honourable Paul Martin, P.C., M.P.

Minister of Finance
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0K9

SEP 18   2000

Mr. David Robert Bedford
5317 Barker Avenue
Burnaby, British Columbia
V5H 2N6

Dear Mr. Bedford:

As you know, a copy of your May 15, 2000 letter has recently been sent to me by the Honourable Allan Rock, Minister of Health. I appreciate this opportunity to comment on the taxation of tobacco products.

As my colleague indicated, the federal government is committed to the goal of reducing tobacco consumption in Canada, especially among our youth. To this end, the government, through the co-ordinated efforts of Finance Canada, Health Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency and the provinces, has increased tobacco taxes on four separate occasions since 1994. The last increase, in November 1999, included a measure to make permanent the existing 40-percent surtax on tobacco company profits.

While I appreciate your point of view, the government will continue to work to accelerate the restoration of tobacco taxes to pre-1994 levels in ways that will minimize the risk of renewed contraband activity.

Please accept my best wishes.


The Honourable Paul Martin, P.C., M.P.

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