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Yellowknife candidates speak on smoking ban

Most MLA candidates responding to a survey from the Canadian Cancer Society say they will support a smoking ban in vehicles carrying children and outdoors spaces where they play, according to the group's relationship development co-ordinator for Alberta and the NWT.

Fernanda Martins said most of the 60 candidates seeking election across the territory chose to participate in the survey.

Martins said she was pleased all four candidates – Glen Abernethy, Tom Beaulieu, Michael Miltenberger and Jane Groenewegen -- who have previously served as health minister answered yes on both counts. She said of the Yellowknife candidates surveyed, all but Great Slave candidate Chris Clarke responded, and the majority of them said they would support both proposed prohibitions as well. She said Yellowknife Centre candidates Julie Green and incumbent Robert Hawkins were the only Yellowknife candidates who wavered.

Green wrote that she supports banning smoking in vehicles containing minors but couldn't answer the second question pertaining to banning smoking in outdoor spaces.

“Outdoors is a big place,” Green answered. “I'm not sure that putting obstacles in the way of families (who include smokers) spending time together outdoors makes sense.”

Martins said Hawkins was on the fence on both issues. In his response submitted to the society, he wrote banning smoking in vehicles wouldn't be enforceable.

On the second item – pertaining to smoking in public areas – he gave a similar answer.

“I worry that it would simply be another law on the books that could be completely unenforceable.” he wrote.

“However I want to stress, I'd be happy to look into this, learn more about it through research and see what practical steps that can be take to achieve your request.”

Martins said previous anti-tobacco initiatives run by the GNWT need to be revived.

“It's been brought up at the legislative assembly,” she said, adding that Hawkins should be aware of the concerns around tobacco use in the territory.

“He at least has heard about it,” she said.


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