November 24, 2006
The Saskatchewan Party tried to ignite a debate over tobacco on
Thursday, but the NDP fired back with a smoking gun of its own.
The exchange began in the legislative assembly when the Opposition
accused the NDP of hypocrisy for moving to ban smoking while
accepting an advertisement from a group promoting the legalization
Saskatchewan Party MLA June Draude referred to a booklet distributed
at the NDP's weekend convention with a pro-pot ad on the back.
"They accepted money from a company that's … supporting a substance
that's actually illegal and to me that's just hypocritical," she
said to reporters later. "You can't have it both ways."
On one hand, the NDP is banning public smoking and considering suing
tobacco companies, yet on the other is allowing the promotion of
marijuana at its convention, she said.
Healthy Living Services Minister Graham Addley said the government
doesn't support legalizing marijuana.
Furthermore, he said, it's people in the Saskatchewan Party who are
the real hypocrites, because they accepted a $10,000 donation from
Imperial Tobacco in 2003.
Asked by reporters about the tobacco company money, Draude explained
things were different back then.
"I know that smoking tobacco a number of years ago was a lot more
acceptable than it is now. We know that there's fewer people using
it now and we definitely don't promote it," she said.
Saskatchewan Party Leader Brad Wall acted fast to put out the fire.
He said when he became aware of the Imperial donation on Thursday he
introduced a policy against taking money from tobacco companies.