May 31, 2004 - World No Tobacco Day
Think Globally, Ratify Locally.
On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada urged Canada’s federal and provincial governments to intensify their efforts to ratify the new global tobacco treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (the FCTC).
“The continuing delays in Canada’s ratification of the treaty are both inexplicable and inexcusable,” said Dr. Atul Kapur, president of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. “The delay is inexplicable because there is no reason Canada should not immediately make a full commitment to the treaty, especially as Canada is already substantially in compliance with its provisions.”
“The delay is inexcusable, because it weakens Canada’s leadership in the treaty process. When a treaty meeting is held in three weeks time and important decisions on the administration and implementation of the treaty are made, Canada’s voice will be muted. Not having ratified the treaty, Canada will not have the moral authority to champion the important decisions on funding and governance that must now be taken.”
Canada’s failure to ratify the treaty has surprised and disappointed public health advocates in Canada and abroad. “A year ago, it was widely expected that Canada would be among the first to ratify this treaty: today there many wondering if the federal commitment to this treaty has not survived the transfer from one prime minister’s administration to another.” said Dr. Kapur.
Contributing to the delay in ratification may be a slowness in the part of provincial governments to signal their support. All provinces and territories have been formally requested to concur with ratification, but only the territories, Saskatchewan and British Columbia are known to have done so.
“The FCTC would likely already be ratified if those provinces which are quick to express their anger at lack of consultation were as quick to express support when it is asked of them,” said Dr. Kapur.
“I urge the governments of Alberta, Quebec and Ontario and all other provinces that have not already done so to use the occasion of World No Tobacco Day to affirm their support of this important treaty.”
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For information: Cynthia Callard 613 233 4878