On Dec. 24 I was doing some last-minute Christmas shopping in Ponoka when, as I was just about to enter a local retail establishment, I encountered one of the store’s employees standing outside smoking a cigarette.
As I looked at this young man it was easy to see that he was not 18, which I later had him confirm to me. I began to talk with him about the harmful effects of smoking on the human body. I also pointed out to him that it was illegal for a minor to buy cigarettes or for someone else to make such a purchase on his/her behalf. I then pointed out to him that the expense of buying cigarettes was negating his monetary return from his employment.
The young man’s response to all of this was that he was aware of the health risks associated with smoking and that it wasn’t costing him all that much because he was getting his cigarettes for only five bucks from a native friend of his who resides on the reserve.
I guess that Montana Band Chief Carolyn Buffalo’s economic development plan through cigarette sales, is partially dependent for its success on having minors as customers.
I would suggest that if the native bands believe that the Province of Alberta’s Gaming and Liquor Commission has no jurisdiction on the reserve then maybe the Alberta government should withdraw all of its funding, including welfare. Why should the Alberta taxpayer take on supporting a population group that is immune from Alberta law?
Julian Ross Hudson