KENTVILLE — The lawyer for Kentville tobacconist Bob Gee will argue that a provincial law requiring his client to cover all products in his store violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Adam Church said Wednesday displaying tobacco is "a form of advertising and is therefore expression, which our Constitution protects."
If a judge agrees, there would be another hearing, at which the provincial government would have to "demonstrably justify that the law is a reasonable limitation on the right to freedom of speech," Mr. Church said.
Lawyers for both sides are making written submissions and will argue their cases Jan. 16.
Mr. Gee is charged under the Tobacco Access Act, which prohibits displaying cigarette and tobacco products with their labels visible. He is also charged with having too much tobacco display space in his shop, Mader’s Tobacco Store.
Evidence on the charges was heard Wednesday in Kentville provincial court.
Mr. Church said the law "effectively draws a curtain between a customer and a shopkeeper as to what is for sale, what a customer can see is for sale and identify their product and say ‘Yes, I want that product.’ "
Mr. Gee said covering his products would curtail his business. He has not covered the products yet.
If the case goes to the second hearing, the Canadian Cancer Society hopes to have intervener status.
Rob Cunningham, policy analyst with the society, said it considers the ban on retail displays essential to protect children and reduce smoking rates in general.
When I go to buy smokes, it doesn't reduce my smoking rate..... all it does is make me have to ask the cashier to pull out and show me what they have so I can select what I want, thereby wasting their time and my time and everybody else's time in getting their smokes...... this doesn't reduce anything as they still will get their smokes.
And who gives a crap about protecting children? They shouldn't be buying them in the first place..... don't go covering everything up and expecting that to solve the problem..... you want to solve the problem.... crack down on the dirt bags selling them to children..... don't make everybody else suffer stupid rules and laws because you're too damn lazy to do the right thing.
And telling him he has too much tobacco display area in his store is retarded..... it's a tobacco store idiots!