Response from the Bloc Québécois
1. What measures will you take to support caregivers and show leadership on this important issue for Canadian families?
The Bloc Québécois has always been open to health concerns, and particularly to the crucial sector of public health, which includes everything from prevention to the planning required to meet the needs of those facing serious illnesses and the people around them who care for them.
The Bloc Québécois is aware of how inadequate Federal financing is in this respect. As a matter of fact, according to the Bloc Québécois, le fundamental problem is the under-financing resulting from fiscal imbalance that deprives Quebec and the other provinces from revenues sufficient to meet their commitments, making it difficult to adequately support their public health organizations. The Bloc Québécois considers that correcting this fiscal imbalance would allow Quebec and the provinces to further develop services to their populations within their areas of jurisdiction and to make sure that, when it is a matter of health, their citizens have the necessary tools to meet new challenges in public health.
Last fall, the Quebec government held public consultations on seniors’ living conditions. Although the matter of family caregivers is not limited to seniors, it remains that several recommendations have been collected from various input received on that occasion. Quebec is perfectly aware of the needs of family caregivers.
The Bloc Québécois supports tax measures such as income splitting which would bring some support to family caregivers.
2. What new measures will your party take to get tobacco contraband under control?
The Bloc Québécois, fully aware of the surge in contraband, has urged the federal government to take drastic action to ensure that all the efforts made to prevent smoking, particularly among young people, will not have been in vain.
The Bloc Québécois asks the Federal government to employ legal means in order to stop this explosive growth in contraband, such as the seizure of motor vehicles used by smugglers.
At the same time, we believe that, although police intervention is capital, regulations must be amended in order to discourage smuggling. Cutting supply sources remains by far the best means to prevent smuggling. Following are some measures suggested during meetings with interested parties, including the Coalition québécoise pour le contrôle du tabac, measures that we fully support:
Prohibit the supply of raw materials and cigarette production equipment to unlicensed manufacturers;
Revoke the licenses of manufacturers that do not respect the law;
Implement an effective marking system for cigarette packages (tracking and tracing) to allow close monitoring of tobacco deliveries;
Persuade the US Government to shut down illegal manufacturing operations on the US side of the border;
Increase the minimum bond to obtain federal tobacco manufacturing licences to at least $5 millions, instead of the current ridiculous amount of $5000.
The Bloc Québécois is also demanding that the Federal government ensure coordinated efforts on the part of its various departments and agencies, as collective action is the only way to take into account all the various aspects of smoking and smuggling (prevention, enforcement of manufacturing standards, suppression of smuggling operations etc.)
Finally, the Bloc Québécois considers that any action against smuggling taken on reserves must be done in cooperation with aboriginal authorities. In this area, cooperation is capital in order to identify and target the criminal organizations.
3. Would your party support a ban on flavoured cigarillos and other tobacco products?
The Bloc Québécois considers that cigarillos as well, as all other tobacco products, should be subject to the same restrictions as cigarettes. Efforts made to reduce visibility and use of cigarettes should not be negated through the introduction of other products that are just as lethal. The Bloc Québécois clearly insists that, just as it is the case for cigarettes, a ban be legislated on tobacco advertising targeting youth under 18 years of age, that a warning be printed on all those products and that these products be hidden from public view.
5. What does your Party intend to do to ensure that citizens are made aware of the chronic health hazards associated with the products that they use?
The Bloc Québécois has spoken on a number of occasions about information to be disclosed to consumers. We have asked the Federal government to put an end to this time of excessive freedom in the area of food labelling, for example when it comes to industry certification of products, which is sometimes not very reliable and creates confusion among consumers, to the detriment of public health.
We have pointed to the health minister’s lack of judgment when he failed to mention the fact that metal cans may contain bisphenol A, a substance that has been linked to some types of cancer. These cans are a source of daily exposure to bisphenol A for consumers of all ages, just as baby bottles, water bottles, compact disks, helmets, food packaging are, among others.
The Bloc Québécois will act to demand action from the Federal government, within its area of jurisdiction, in order to review labelling standards for all products subject to the Food and Drug Act and the Hazardous Products Act.