Memorial Archives

Alex Munter and the Anti-Smoking Brigade
posted Feb 20, 2004 at 07:41PM

(Quite certain this is the first letter I ever wrote to a newspaper. Up to this point I had always felt it was basically a waste of time. And actually nothing has occurred since then, that has given me reason to think it means anything...but have to try...anyways rereading it after a few years I still think it is a good never got printed and so it finally gets to see the light of day

Alex Munter was a city politician at the time of writing.

Dear Editor,

For Alex Munter and the other members of the anti-smoking jihad, a nerve is struck whenever he is compared to the Gestapo. It is his contention that because smokers are not being herded into railway cars, that these accusations are not accurate and indeed are insulting to the Jews.

Those who have studied the matter would tell the young Mr. Munter that Jews did not go from participating law-abiding citizens to pariahs in an instant. It was a process taking many years, involving demonizing rhetoric and images, a continual manipulation of facts to fit an ideology, and an ever-encompassing system of legislation which laid the ground work for the isolation of Jews.

All of this, of course was justified by Nazis as necessary for the "public good".

The threat of jail time and/or excessive fines for smoking a cigarette in a rock bar, or a pool hall is exactly the kind of spiteful reality that a Jew could expect in the Germany of the early 30's. The feelings of an individual who has invested money, time and indeed faith into a business, only to see it circle the drain due to an unethical change in "rules" is not that much different from the Jewish entrepreneurs who saw their livelihoods disappear due to new regulations meant to "protect" the public.

Add to that the discriminatory tax-regime, the apartheid like policies of the work place which break every harassment by-law in the books, the complete dismissal of studies by the World Health Organization showing no credence to the dangers of second hand smoke ( and their subsequent censorship) Indeed consider that all current legislation concerning smoking is acknowledged by the Supreme Court to be in violation of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and required the activation of the notwithstanding clause.

Notice a pattern developing?

But Mr Munter shouldn't have to study the pre-history of the Holocaust searching for "root causes" to understand this. As an openly gay man he should be quite familiar to the plight of smokers in today's society. Consider some of the arguments and rhetoric used against the homosexual community: That homosexuality is a "filthy lifestyle choice", that it is "hazardous to one's health"; that it is a "corrupting influence on our children". Does this sound familiar?

What would Mr. Munter feel if the notwithstanding clause was invoked, that the rights of gays were violated, all for their own good of course, as well as the sake of public health?

After all what IS the average life expectancy of a gay man compared to a smoker?

But perhaps longevity is not the end all and be all to building an ethical society, especially when considering, that in the end, everyone dies, and all the nutmeg and fibre in the world isn't going to change that.

Mr. Munter likes to present himself as a champion of rights and liberties. The reality is that at a very young age, he has become what he once would mock; an idealogical politician who has mastered the fine art of goose-stepping.

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