Views: 0 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2021-12-15 Origin: Site
Municipal leaders from across Alberta held the 2021 convention in Edmonton and online from November 17th to 19th. Alberta Municipalities-formerly the Alberta Urban Municipal Association (AUMA)-represent Alberta's urban communities.
Every year, members of the Alberta municipal government vote on the resolution that determines the organization's publicity to the provincial government on municipal issues. This year, the conference passed a series of resolutions, including a resolution lobbying the Alberta government to impose a 5% tax on all revenue collected by major tobacco manufacturers and importers.
The collected funds will be used to support Alberta's plans and strategies to reduce and prevent tobacco use, such as the Alberta Tobacco Reduction Strategy.
Leishagan, executive director of the Canadian Action for Smoking and Health, said the resolution is a strong support for Alberta's tobacco reduction strategy.
"The strategy will expire in March, and we are waiting for news about updating the strategy in the next 10 years, so the resolution is very timely." Hagen said.
The resolution was proposed by the City of Airdrie and seconded by St. Albert, allowing it to be read out for approval at the conference. Jacquie Hansen, who served on the St. Albert City Council from 2017 to 2021, prompted the council to pass the motion this spring.
Airdrie City Councillor Tina Petrow spoke on the motion during the Alberta Municipal Council. Pietro pointed out that tobacco use in Alberta-including health care and environmental costs-is as high as $1 billion per year.
"Whether you participate or not, this is the price all Albertans have to pay." Pietro said. "Let us redistribute these costs back to where they belong and hold the manufacturer responsible for the safety and well-being of all Albertans."
Although the resolution initially did not include e-cigarettes or e-cigarette manufacturers, Alberta municipalities voted to pass amendments to increase these aspects.
Provost Town Councillor Michael Hildebrand opposed the amendment, which was passed with 428 votes in favor and 80 votes against it. Hildebrand talked about his experience as a smoker.
"I know tobacco is a bad thing, but the ability to remove any tools people use to try to quit actual tobacco is just a bad plan." Hildebrand said.
Hagen said that he has a different view. He pointed out that some major e-cigarette companies are partly or wholly owned by tobacco companies. For example, Juul is owned by Philip Morris-now known as Altria Group.
Hagen also said that most people who smoke e-cigarettes do not intend to quit smoking, and that e-cigarette products are becoming more and more popular.
"In order to solve the main problem here, if the government advances this proposal and charges tobacco companies... these fees can help smokers quit smoking." Hagen said. "These expenses can be used to help pay for legitimate medical expenses."
As for whether the additional costs will be passed on from the company to consumers through high costs, Hagen said that this possibility exists, but it is still offset by the importance of strengthening anti-smoking measures through taxation.
"We can't let the strategy expire. We know that the provincial government is facing funding pressure." Hagen said. "This is to solve these two problems."
The resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority, with 425 votes in favor and 92 against.