It may be unfashionable, but when I see Justin Trudeau oiling round the world stage, I have an uncontrollable urge to throw rotten fruit. The liberal Canadian prime minister, son of a previous liberal prime minister, embodies everything that we deplorables find so deplorable ourselves.
He’s like a mix of Chelsea Clinton and Tony Blair, an entitled phoney whose know-best vision is more important to him than the people he claims to care about.
It’s because of him that Canada is turning into the North American version of Sweden (read, basket-case). And it’s because of his example that the health-regulation lobby has gained so much confidence in his country.
Its latest outrage has been a policy recommendation that is, quite simply, undemocratic: setting a minimum age-limit – above the voting age – on a practice which, though frowned on by some, is absolutely legal,
Imagine the outcry in Canada, or most western countries, if consensual sexual acts between two adults of any gender could not be performed until three years after they were first eligible to vote.
Well, substitute solo-smoking for erotic coupling, and that’s what Assistant Professor Dr John Oyston at the University of Toronto and Scarborough Rouge Hospital, wants. He doesn’t think the state assault on tobacco – plain packaging is next on the agenda – is oppressive enough.
“Increasing the minimum legal age for access to tobacco products to 21 or even 25 years would reduce smoking initiation substantially, reduce the prevalence of smoking, improve health across the lifespan, improve the outcome of many teenage pregnancies and save lives,” he says.
That’s great, isn’t it? As in Britain, in the old dominion you can sign up for the armed forces at 17 and go into battle a year later, but you can’t be trusted to assess the health implications of smoking.
So imagine being night-sentry in some far-off desert camp where you shouldn’t be fighting a war anyway. As you spark up your cigarette, the sergeant yells, ‘Put that light out, soldier!’ Because it makes you a target? No, because ‘That’s a direct contravention of Article 3, Sub-section 2 of the Health and Safety (Combat) Regulations…’ Next thing you’ll know, you’ll be getting the Marine A treatment.
Really, that should be the end of the matter. Poor Canadians, to have nanny-state loons who believe that their fixations override all other concerns. Except that there are campaigners in Britain who want exactly the same thing. Deborah Arnott, for example, the Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), who on Monday backed the Canucks’ call in Murdoch’s soaraway Sun.
This really is too much. The Sun should have said something. It could have pointed out that the assault on tobacco, which started with promotion bans, is the model for future alcohol regulation (although its readers’ heads might have exploded with fury at the thought). It should at least have questioned the assumption behind it.
Governments shouldn’t, figuratively, treat adults as children. To do it literally makes a mockery of freedom.