Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A New Poll on a Smoking Ban Coming Soon.

The Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta Branch has done a new opinion poll on the issue of banning smoking in public places. I hear it is to be released very soon. Perhaps even as early as tomorrow! I wonder how the support stacks up and the fabled rural – urban split on the issue of banning smoking in public places?

Based on other social values research I have seen for Albertans, the rural-urban divide is very mythological, at least on a values basis. We Albertans are pretty much the same kind of people in terms of what we believe in and what we consider to be important. We may disagree on the ways and means to solve a particular problem. But we Albertans are still very closely aligned as to what the problems are and in what we consider their priority of importance.

This concurrence is pretty independent of what we do for a living or to where we live. Sure there are some occasional differences, between Edmonton and Calgary, or the north and the south opinions. There is really very little difference in our values as Albertans, based on where we live. It seems to make no real significant difference if we are either rural or urban

In the recent PC leadership campaign, “Candidate Stelmach” supported a ban on smoking in public places. But he did say it would be a final decision of Caucus. He is keeping true to that position. It is expected this issue will be dealt with (yet again) in Caucus and likely in this spring session starting February 27.

So if the majority of Albertan wants this smoking ban to happen, at least that is what past polls have said we want. And I am willing to bet the new Cancer Society poll will concur. We better let our elected representatives know how much we value our health and how important this issue is as a policy priority to be dealt with - and as soon as possible.

In any event, this is an idea whose time has come, it will not happen without a concerted political effort by Albertans. This idea has been defeated many times in prior Caucus decisions. But we have a new leader and taht always means a change. Citizens who desire a different result this time have too be mobilized, both personally and within their spheres of influence to make that change happen.

We have to get the message across to the PC Caucus by letting then know that this is an idea whose time has come. As a health wellness and disease prevention issue it is step in the right direction. From that perspective, this is not a very hard political decision for anyone to make. Let your wishes be known to MLAs all over the province. If they tell you it is a hard choice to mae, remind them that is why they are elected - to make hard choices on our behalf.

The new legislative session starts February 27th. It is timely to start writing your MLA. Call their offices. Send an email, or a snail mail is even better, in support of a smoking ban in public places in Alberta. Remember the world is run by those who show up!