Yes, some people will always have a tendency to hate others, and no, there is really not all that much we can do about it. But one thing that we cannot standb by and accept is when such attitudes are reinforced and partially engineered by government sanctioned and government financed smear campaigns. On another scale, we cannot allow the government to simply sit down and permit any kinds of engineered hatreds to be propagated.
The following articles and comments illustrate some of the ways ways in which our government actively propagates hatred in our culture. For examples of government allowing dangerous forms of hatred to grow unstemmed, please visit our Freedom of Speech section.
IMPORTANT NOTICE TO OUR MEMBERS AND
November 8, 2007 selected news articles and commentary will be posted on the
C.A.G.E. bilingual blog at http://cagecanada.blogspot.com/
where you’re also welcome to post your
own comments. All past entries in this
news section and all of ‘’news’’ sub-sections, will remain published here for
The following is a statement from Dr. Michael Siegel, a prominent anti-tobacco activist that has been in the movement for the last 20 years, addressing a question posed to him in his blog. It illustrates the magnitude of the intolerance that has been created by an extreme movement that does not allow any room for discussion or dissent. It is with this type of mindset that the present crusade against smokers is progressing and it is not only being left unchecked by our governing powers but it is endorsed and even generously financed by the state.
I actually AM sorry that I have been a part of a movement that has turned out to be filled with hatred, intolerance, and lack of respect (and I'm only talking about how they feel about people within the movement who dissent; we haven't gotten to how they feel about smokers yet ).
I am sorry that the movement has gone off the deep end and is not only going way too far in its agenda but that it is using unethical tactics to promote its agenda.
However, I can't take responsibility for the actions of others, other than to note that I do feel it is my responsibility to speak out against the actions of groups within the movement to which I belong. To a large extent, that is really the reason behind this blog. It was (and remains) somewhat an act of conscience. There's only so long I could or can wake up every day and see these unethical and irresponsible actions being taken and NOT speak out against it.
I understand that people might argue that it was my fault for not waking up and realizing what was going on much earlier. However, you need to remember two things. First, there is a fair amount of brainwashing that goes on in the movement. So it is not as easy as one might think to see the truth. Second, things got a lot worse after the tobacco companies abdicated their role as watchdog of the anti-smoking movement.
Remind me, if I forget, to write some posts about the type of brainwashing that goes on in the movement. I'm quite serious. It can be very difficult to see clearly from within the movement. Almost like being enshrouded in a cloud of smoke, so to speak.
Michael Siegel | Homepage | 04.10.07 - 5:42 pm | #
On December 4th and 5th 2006, C.A.G.E. sent representatives to show support to two Canadian citizens that organized a peaceful demonstration in Niagara Falls to protest against the inhuman treatment of the senior citizen smokers in Ontario. We have also written letters to the media and contacted a number of organizations to ask for help in trying to bring some relief to these seniors. It seems that our pleas and protests did not only fall into deaf ears then, the Ontario government is still giving the same insensitive answer to other groups and citizens fighting for our elderly. We say shame to Mr. McGuinty and urge him to not only be mindful of the majority, but of all Canadian citizens no matter what his personal preferences are. If he believes that second hand smoke is such a threat, the Ontario Government should be funding the smoking rooms that meet with the stringent government requirements instead of nicotine patches or pills, that in the case of the elders can easily qualify as forced medication. We urge all Canadian citizens and the families of the elderly to keep putting pressure on the government to allow for some dignity and safety to the most deserved members of our society -- the seniors.
Families complain Ont. seniors in long-term care forced to smoke in the cold
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
TORONTO (CP) - Ontario smokers forced out into the cold from their long-term
care and nursing homes to satisfy their nicotine habit received little
sympathy Tuesday from Premier Dalton McGuinty.
While the homes were granted an exemption from the provincewide smoking ban
- namely that residents can smoke in specially ventilated rooms - many of
the facilities say they can't afford to construct such rooms.
"Well, you've got to make some tough choices in these areas, and one of
those was to protect people who work in long-term care," McGuinty said
before a government caucus meeting.
"If a home is adamant about ensuring that there is an enclosed, heated area,
another room for seniors to smoke, that's something that they can pursue."
Mary Ellen Gordon, who owns and operates a seniors home north of Toronto,
said she spent $7,500 on a smoking room before the Smoke Free Ontario Act
came into effect last June but was told she would have to spend up to ten
times that to meet the new criteria.
"It was going to cost me $50,000 to $75,000 to put in the proper ventilation
system that the ministry required," Gordon told a news conference at the
Ontario legislature. "I just can't afford that."
Consequently, said Gordon, seniors at her home were heading out into icy,
windy conditions to have their cigarettes, or were dangerously trying to
sneak them inside their rooms.
She has seen one senior get frostbite while another was caught smoking in
bed since the ban took effect, problems she said the home has never had
"I can smoke in my home, why can't my seniors smoke in their own homes,"
asked Gordon. "They live here 365 days a year. I really feel that their
rights are being abused."
One senior died last winter after taking a smoking break outside his
long-term care home on Manitoulin Island in below-freezing temperatures.
The tobacco-industry sponsored group MyChoice.ca said that many seniors have
been forced outside in freezing winter weather since the smoking ban became
Debbie Pratt, whose 78-year-old mother is in a Hamilton-area long-term care
home, said she's worried her mother's health has declined since she started
going outside to smoke.
"I cannot imagine anyone ordering their elderly, wheelchair restricted
parent to go outside of their home in the middle of the cold winter just to
smoke," said Pratt. "It's diabolical and unacceptable."
Health Minister George Smitherman said the provincewide smoking ban also
protects the overwhelming majority of seniors living in care who do not
"When I hear a smoker talk about discrimination, I'm always mindful that the
vast majority of people do not smoke," said Smitherman.
"The vast majority of people who live in long-term care homes do not smoke,
and accordingly we must be mindful of their rights."
The following article motivated a New Year's 2007 press release from C.A.G.E., which can be found under Press Releases. Before reading on, please be warned -- the content of the following article is quite disturbing.
Four hours of torture
Monday, December 18, 2006
A 17-year-old student was burned with a home-made flame thrower during a horrifying four-hour torture ordeal, a court heard.
Aerosol cans of air freshener and furniture polish were squirted at Katy James and the jets set alight with a naked flame. She was attacked by a gang of teenagers at the flat they shared in Burcot Lane, Bromsgrove, after her smoking was blamed for Hayley Kirby's miscarriage.
Her hair was set alight and she had to beat out the flames with her bare hands. Perfume was sprayed onto her stomach and also set on fire.
She was battered with a chair until its leg broke, punched, kicked and forced to drink a cocktail of coca-cola, cigarette ends and urine while her tormentors laughed, Worcester Crown Court was told.
Miss James, a vulnerable girl with learning problems, was lured home on March 23 where she was attacked by Kirby, her boyfriend Robert Hart, Wynette Darkes and her boyfriend James Smale. Kirby claimed that on that day she was told by a hospital that smoke in her body' had caused her to lose the child, said Nicolas Cartwright, prosecuting. The gang all pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and conspiring to pervert the course of justice in a cover-up to police. Judge Alistair McCreath said it was "unspeakable and wicked behaviour". He gave Hart, 18, and 17-year-old Smale indeterminate sentences for public protection. They must serve at least three years and three months in custody before they are considered for release by the parole board. Kirby, also 18, and Darkes, 17, now of Lion Street, Kidderminster, were each given six and half years detention.
The violence was begun by Kirby who slapped Miss James, called her a whore and branded her a murderer.
Smale also accused her of taking his dad away from him because Miss James was having a romance with 49-year-old Christopher Smale.
Miss James, who was on a life skills course at North East Worcestershire college in Redditch, had a soiled nappy pushed in her face.
Cigarettes were also stubbed out on her body and she was forced to eat chilli peppers and chilli powder - and drink her own vomit.
She was photographed on a mobile phone, had a knife held at her throat- and was even urinated on.
Around 10pm the gang realised her boyfriend was about to return home and walked the victim to a chip shop.
They tried to clean her up and concocted a story that they found her being attacked by a youth in a churchyard. Her boyfriend, shocked by what he found when he returned from a factory shift, called the police.
Her injuries included a broken nose, perforated eardrum, a six-inch burn on her stomach and other burns on her ears, face and private parts.
Mr Cartwright said: "She was subjected to a terrifying and humiliating ordeal, involving extreme acts of violence and degradation.
"This was a joint enterprise in which each defendant should face equal responsibility for all the injuries and indignities inflicted on the victim."
Mary Loram, for Kirby, said she did suffer a miscarriage, but could not explain the events afterwards.
Robert Jackson, for Hart, said: "Young people in groups are prone to acts which astonish all members of civilised society."
Gary Cook, for Darkes, said: "The victim has a life sentence. Whatever the defendant gets, she deserves it."
And Abigail Nixon, for Smale, explained that he had a very disturbed early upbringing.
Dying smoker left out in the cold
No room under new rules for indoor smoking areas in hospitals
December 21, 2006
Jack Lakey, Staff Reporter
As Suzanne Penny prepares for death, one of the few remaining pleasures in life is her cigarettes. They are the cause of the cancer that ravages her, but also a soothing source of comfort. They helped Penny cope with the terror of diagnosis, brain surgery, radiation treatment and knowing she will die soon, and likely alone.
Cigarettes will be her partner on this final journey; there isn't anyone else. They are her friends. To indulge her habit, Penny must leave the Salvation Army Grace Hospital, at Church and Bloor Sts. She bundles up, rides the elevator six floors down and pushes her walker out to the smoking area, near the parking lot and next to an industrial garbage dumpster.
It's the law. There is no protection from wind, rain or cold, only a bench and a receptacle for butts. "It is quite delightful when it's dark and raining," said 58-year-old Penny, a trace of sarcasm tingeing her prim English accent.
Penny and many others in hospitals, chronic care facilities, nursing homes and seniors residences are on the wrong side of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which bans smoking in workplaces and public places. It took effect June 1.
The legislation is intended to reduce workers' exposure to second-hand smoke and make it harder for people to light up. But it left no wiggle room for hospitals, some of which had an indoor smoking area for gravely ill people before, but are no longer allowed.
Major Dennis Brown, CEO of Grace Hospital, said he sympathizes with smokers and understands the hardships caused by the new rules, but can't help them.
"When it was legal for us to have a smoking room, we felt that it made sense for people in their final days to have an area where they could continue to smoke and not be faced with symptoms and cravings," said Brown.
Before the province's rules kicked in, the city's smoking bylaw called for a specially ventilated room. Brown says a bylaw inspector told the hospital a year ago its smoking room didn't comply and to stop using it within 30 days, or face large fines.
To a patient with a long-nourished nicotine habit, facing a life-threatening illness without cigarettes may seem like a good idea to non-smokers, but is out of the question to them.
Just stand near the doors of any hospital and observe the procession of patients with jackets over gowns, sometimes in wheelchairs or with intravenous carts in tow, puffing away.
In the daily emails and calls to The Fixer, we occasionally get one that jumps out from the usual fare of tripping hazards and burned-out streetlights.
Penny's began by saying: "I am dying in the palliative care unit at the Grace Hospital. I would like to do so with a reasonable amount of grace and dignity, but that has been taken from me. I am a smoker.
"Forbidding smoking can't – won't – stop me from smoking, but I must go outside to do it. It is a decision that seems sure to give me pneumonia.
"I cannot stop smoking. Someone else's decision gives me no dignity and no choices. I feel sad and angry. Where is the mercy? Where is the humanity? Where are the exceptions?"
Her plea is especially ironic, given that both the University of Toronto and York University recently created rooms for professors who smoke marijuana for medical reasons, but didn't want to sneak around outside to do it.
Outside the front doors of the Grace, a red line has been painted across the pavement. No smoking is allowed inside the line, to comply with the rule that forbids smoking within nine metres of the entrance to a health care facility.
Rather than go to the designated smoking area, patients using wheelchairs and walkers often hover just outside the line, trying to escape the wind while puffing on cigarettes.
One man, outfitted in a shiny, chrome-coloured helmet, sits on the small seat of a walker and smokes while greeting visitors.
"He was always falling down and banging his head, so they gave him a helmet," Penny explained. "Some of the people down here don't have any money for cigarettes, so they beg for them from people going by. It's terribly sad."
Before she was diagnosed with terminal lung and brain cancer, Penny lived in Etobicoke and worked for the province's Office of the Public Trustee and Guardian. Her job was to find family members of people who died without a will, often to give them money they didn't know was coming.
For 40 years, she's smoked at least a pack a day, and says it was closer to two in the old days, when people still smoked at their desks.
"It's not the nicotine that's so hard to give up, it's the habit, the socializing. I always enjoyed it." She's been on her own since the infamous morning of 9/11, when her husband died of a heart ailment a couple of hours before planes started slamming into towers.
Her only family in Canada is her 24-year-old daughter Ashley, who has a small child and lives with her husband in Victoria, B.C. She's here for Christmas but has to go home Jan. 9. After that, Penny is on her own.
She's been a patient at the Grace for about six weeks, after a stay at St. Michael's Hospital, where she underwent brain surgery in October.
The long, fresh scar from where they went in climbs up the back of her head. It's easy to see; she has no hair.
Other than a few friends, she must deal with her impending descent entirely on her own. It is no wonder that she is driven to leave her bed and go out into the cold for a smoke, every hour or so.
She'd settle for a small bit of shelter somewhere closer to her room. Through a sliding glass door on one side of the lounge for palliative care patients is the Roof Garden, used for social events in good weather.
It's an open area but has a roof over it. To Penny, it looks a lot better than standing next to the garbage dumpster, but the new rules don't allow it to be used for smoking.
Greg Flood, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health Promotion, which is responsible for the legislation, said circumstances such as Penny's were taken into account when it was drafted, but it was decided that it was more important to protect others from second-hand smoke.
"When that bill was being enacted, we actually did consult with the ministry, specifically about our palliative care unit," said Brown. "We were told very clearly that there would be no exemptions for palliative care units."
Patients can always avail themselves of smoking cessation aids, adds Brown, including nicotine patches and chewing gum. It pains us to say there is no fix here.