Next step: sue the sun

How to pick away at a provincial deficit


The Ontario government has just launched a $50 billion suit against tobacco companies. The reason? To cover damages “for past and ongoing health-care costs linked to tobacco-related illness.”

Alright, let’s get a few things out of the way. One—they’ll get their money. It’s all very legal and in accordance with the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act. Two—they’ve got friends. British Columbia and New Brunswick have their own suits underway. When one wins, the others will have it in the bag. And three—just so you know, it’s all for you:

Smoking“The taxpayers of the province of Ontario have paid a lot of money for health-care costs directly related to tobacco use over the decades,” said Attorney General Chris Bentley. “We believe the taxpayers should be compensated for the costs that they have paid. That’s what this lawsuit is about.”

How nice. Here I was thinking it was all a frivolous cash grab or an example of shameless double dipping by a government that rakes in billions annually through provincial tax excisions. I guess existing taxation on the sale of cigarettes, which totals almost 70% of the retail cost (when you add up federal and provincial taxes) was just preparatory collection to make sure Ontario has enough to pay its lawyers.

Now, I am not a smoker, government diplomat or a lawyer (I know—so far so good, eh?) but I do have a few humble suggestions for our McGuinty Liberals:

  • Put the $50 billion in eHealth. They’ll know what to do with it.
  • Sue to sun for skin cancer, Cookie Monster for promoting unhealthy eating habits leading to obesity, Steve Jobs for carpal tunnel syndrome and GM for pollution-related respiratory illnesses. (Uh.. on second thought… maybe wait a bit on the last one.)
  • Watch out for class action suits. Someone might label you a conspirator.
  • Keep it going. Everyone’s temporarily forgotten about HST.
  • Can you somehow find a way to sue individuals for autoimmune diseases?

What a ridiculous distraction.

– photo by Stephan Geyer

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Next step: sue the sun

  1. What does this story has to do with Canadian postsecondary section?

  2. They almost did try to reprimand the Cookie Monster for the whole ‘unhealthiness’ of cookies.

  3. Could the McGuinty government sue itself for the mental anguish it caused to dog lovers when they banned pit bulls?

    And, @Dan, settle down!

  4. I will second Dan.. this partisan dreck, so typical of the junk journalism advanced by the National Joke (er.. Post), has nothing to do with post-secondary education. Pathetic.

  5. Call me silly, but I think one of the most valuable things you can learn at university is that there exists a world beyond university.

    Might I suggest a first topic for independent investigation? Look up the difference between “blogging” and “reporting.”

  6. I look forward to such commentary on “social, economic, and political affairs”.