Kingston students spell-out need for Canada to ratify the new global tobacco treaty
(November 4, 2004 – Ottawa) – Students from several Kingston high schools arrive in Ottawa today as part of their ongoing campaign to support the new global tobacco treaty (the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, or FCTC).
The FCTC is the first modern public health treaty and was adopted unanimously by the World Health Organization in May, 2003. Canada was a strong supporter of the treaty during its development, but has not yet ratified the treaty. Thirty-four countries have ratified to-date, including Australia, France, Japan, and India (forty countries must ratify before the treaty can come into force).
“Earlier this year we delivered to Mr. Bill Graham, the Minister of Foreign Affairs a petition with nearly 2,000 signatures from students in the Kingston area,” said Frances Thomson, Public Health Nurse with the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Health Unit. “The Minister has changed, but our message hasn’t: we want to stop big tobacco companies from targeting developing countries.”
The students hope they will be given the opportunity to present their petition – which is more than 100 feet long – to the new Minister of Foreign Affairs (Mr. Pettigrew) or to the Minister of Health (Mr. Dosanjh). The petition includes signatures from several KFL&A area schools, including Ernestown Secondary School, North Addington Education Centre, Queen Elizabeth Collegiate Vocational Institute, Sharbot Lake High School, Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School, Loyalist Collegiate Vocational Institute, Bayridge Secondary School, Frontenac Secondary School, Lasalle Secondary School, Napanee District Secondary School, Kingston Collegiate Vocational Institute, and Sydenham Secondary School.
The bus-load of students arriving in Ottawa have chosen a tasteful and tasty way of demonstrating their support for the new global tobacco treaty. “The treaty is needed because Big Tobacco sucks,” explains Les Corbey from Kingston Collegiate Vocational Institute. “We will be reminding Parliamentarians and onlookers of this important fact by distributing “big tobacco sucks” suckers during our demonstration.”
The Kingston group also wants to raise attention to the
reasons the FCTC is so important in the first place, and
they will be writing their concerns in a full-bodied
way. “In case anyone doesn’t understand why it is
important for Canada to ratify this treaty as soon as
possible,” said Corbey. “we’re going to spell it
out for them.” The students will be using their
bodies to spell out a RATIFY-FCTC message on Parliament
Hill at noon.
A bird's-eye view (click for full-size picture)
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Chanting on steps of Parliament with Heather Crowe
(Click here to see them in action)