Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go on vacation to North Korea? How about Saudi Arabia? Or Libya! Don’t lie – we all know you’ve been secretly planning your next getaway to one of these beacons of democracy!
In all seriousness, we in the West like to hold ourselves to higher standards. The things most often cited as our privilege over some of these ‘less tolerant’ places are freedom of speech and freedom of press. These two factors are what essentially hold our overall freedom intact. We rarely, if ever, see one of our democracies mimic the government regulations of these other countries. Yes, even with our current neighbour “across the pond,” and with all of the lobby groups out there, our personal freedoms are still whole. But, that may be changing soon.
Several years ago, the Canadian government got an earful from various groups and organisations when Stephen Harper was trying to supress free speech. Allow us to refresh your memory. Under Harper’s leadership, the Canadian government was basically trying to silence their scientists across a broad range of issues. The National Post, Vice, and Canada.com all covered the issue in great detail, amongst many other outlets. However, even with all of the media exposure, it took years (in fact roughly a decade) until the fight was thought to have been won. And then came PM Justin Trudeau, whose progressive stances were thought to be the real turning point in this debacle. Surely, we have seen the last of dictatorship-like ruling from Canada, right? Wrong. Not only wrong, but now this is the real deal.
The Canadian government is back to its old ways, and it seems they have doubled down on their conduct with regard to vaping legislation in Canada. Back in November 2016, they proposed Bill S-5 which heavily restricts public access to scientific data on vaping.
Look, we have seen our share of bad news and terrible regulations all over the world when it comes to vaping. From the FDA Deeming Rule to the EU TPD, there are no shortage of shoddy laws that have been put into place. But this new Canadian Bill takes the prize.
Under this Bill, “manufacturers or purveyors of e-cigarettes from sharing scientific information comparing the health effects of smoking traditional combustible tobacco cigarettes with vaping.” If you’re wondering what that exactly entails, it’s the worst-case scenario. This Bill is so general that simply informing Canadians about a vaping study, even ones in scientific journals like BMJ, will not only be illegal but can carry a fine of up to $500,000 and a 2-year prison term. Yes, prison.
Not only will the sale of e-cigarettes be illegal but spreading any information about them, scientific information included, will also be prohibited under Canadian law.
Forget about the large thought-gap between us here in the UK and Canada regarding vaping. This new Canadian Bill isn’t about a difference of opinions or even regulations. All governments are entitled to set regulations in place for certain products. But this isn’t about that. This Bill has crossed the ‘freedom’ line, and there is no place for that what-so-ever. Should the Bill pass, Canadians will be one step closer to living under communist-like government rule.