The Pub and Bar Coalition of Ontario (PUBCO) originally formed
during the City of Ottawa's 100% smoke-free workplace and
public place bylaw campaign. Since the passage of the bylaws
in August 2001, PUBCO has expanded its membership and lobbying
efforts outside of Ottawa, and is now the most aggressive
organization in Ontario opposing municipal regulation of smoking
in hospitality establishments. Over the past year, PUBCO has
regularly appeared at municipal and regional public consultations
on proposed smoking bylaws, and has circulated memos to councils
outlining their positions on the "questionable" scientific
evidence of second-hand smoke, ventilation technology, and
economic impact on the bar industry. (For a discussion on
the problems of ventilation technology and the links between
Canadian tobacco companies and particular hospitality organizations
that support ventilation compliance options in smoking bylaws,
please refer to the section on ventilation).
PUBCO has circulated beer sales numbers to Ontario municipal
and regional councils which they claim show that beer sales
are down in Ottawa in comparison to the provincial average
(they compare Ottawa to thirteen of the 447 municipalities
in Ontario)due to smoking bans. OCAT sent a memorandum to
public health units and municipal councils in September 2002
which questioned the validity of PUBCO's analysis. In response,
PUBCO General Manager Barry McKay sent out a rebuttal. OCAT
issued a response to McKay's rebuttal on November 13, 2002. On May 26, 2003, PUBCO again issued a news release that claimed smoke-free bylaws as the cause for continuing declines in beer sales. OCAT responded to these allegations in its own news release.
The related documents are below:
- Beer Sales Still Plummeting Due to Smoking Bans. PUBCO release, May 26, 2003.
- Beer Sales Changes No Proof of Smoke-free Bylaw Impact. OCAT release, May 26, 2003.
memorandum re PUBCO, September 26, 2002
rebuttal, November 6, 2002 (click on "Recent Letters")
memorandum re PUBCO, November 13,2002
letter, July 2002
It is interesting to note that Jeff Newton, Executive Director of the Brewers of Ontario, stated in a May 27th, 2003 story in the Record ("Smoking ban lowers beer sales; Barkeepers' study doesn't tell entire story, health experts say") that "'Probably the biggest impact on beer sales has been demographics'". This assessment of market conditions affecting beer sales comes from the association that supplied PUBCO its beer sales data.
Flue-Cured Tobacco Cooperative Stabilizing Corporation
PUBCO frequently cites Judge William L. Osteen’s decision
Tobacco Cooperative Stabilizing Corporation v. EPA to
“strike down” the findings of the 1993 US Environmental Protection
Health Effects of Passive Smoking, as evidence that second-hand
smoke does not cause lung cancer, heart disease and other
smoking-related illnesses. Judge Osteen of the Middle District
of North Carolina struck down the findings in a July 1998
decision, ruling in the tobacco industry lawsuit that the
EPA had used inaccurate science in classifying second-hand
smoke as a class “A“ (human) carcinogen. PUBCO not only references
the Osteen decision on their website, but representatives
often raise the ruling during smoking bylaw public consultations
and in memos circulated to council members.
The decision was appealed and on 11 December 2002, the 4th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously decided to uphold
the EPA report and reject the tobacco industry’s claim. The
Court ruled that the EPA report was not subject to court review
because it was advisory and not a final agency action. The
ruling decisively affirms the EPA's authority to make scientific
judgments and issue them without political, legal, or industry
Tobacco giant, Philip Morris decided in January 2003 not
to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court. Tom Ryan,
spokesperson for the tobacco company, said Philip Morris's
position on second-hand smoke has "evolved" since the EPA
report was issued. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. has not decided
whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
PUBCO misinformation about compliance with California
Statements from PUBCO representatives that compliance with
California's statewide smoke-free law is less than 60%, have
recently surfaced in a bylaw debate in Huron County (the statement
comes from an unattributed "rant" on the PUBCO website). This
is typical misinformation from PUBCO and can be easily corrected
by the following:
A November 2001 case study entitled, "Eliminating Smoking
in Bars, Taverns and Gaming Clubs: The California Smoke-free
Workplace Act" by the California Department of Health Services'
Tobacco Control Section states that:
"Estimates by BREATH (Bar and Restaurant Employees Against
Tobacco Hazards) in 2001, based upon on-site bar surveys and
LLA (Local Lead Agencies - City and County Health Departments)
interviews with law enforcers, place statewide compliance
with Labor Code 6404.5 at an unprecedented 90% for bars attached
to restaurants, statewide. Heavily visited areas, such as
Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, Monterey's Cannery Row,
Carmel-by-the-Sea, the Gaslamp District in San Diego, Santa
Monica Pier, Mammoth Lakes ski resort and other tourist and
resort areas reported even higher compliance rates of 95%
PUBCO Distortion of Facts and Misstatements
In addition to PUBCO's many distortions of fact and misstatements,
its representatives have sometimes told outright whoppers
or demonstrated complete ignorance of the issues they address
in their presentations. This section is designed to highlight
some of the more absurd examples of this tendency among PUBCO
- On April 3rd, Dan Taite told the Huron County Council
that PUBCO had "400 members" and was launching a "$400,000
constitutional challenge" to smoking bylaws elsewhere in
In a May 15, 2003 letter to the Daily Press in Timmins,
PUBCO General Manager Barry F. McKay said "as to the figure
of $400,000 legal costs, I have no idea from where (Michael
Perley) conjured up these figures, but I would emphasize
the fact that PUBCO members and no-one else are contributing
to a legal fund to help defray the actual cost."
On May 21st, Dan Taite included a copy of the PUBCO membership
contract in his presentation to Callander Town Council.
That contract states in part that a member "hereby agree(s)
to enter into a 24 month contract with the Pub and Bar
Coalition of Canada (the Coalition). I agree to pay an
annual membership of $300 together with a $62.50 monthly
charge. $12.50 of which is for second year membership
and $50 to be applied to the "Smoking Ban Fund"... The
$50 monthly charge will be credited to the Pub and Bar
Coalition of Canada and applied for its expenses occurred
in challenging municipal non-smoking by-laws in the province
of Ontario and in the pursuit and development of alternative
arrangements to smoking bans. All surcharge revenues shall
be paid into a general "Smoking Ban Fund" to be administered
and allocated as considered necessary and appropriate
by the Board of Directors."
At the same meeting in Callander, Dan Taite also said
that PUBCO "went $96,000 into debt" from the Waterloo
legal challenge they launched, and mentioned that the
Ottawa legal challenge they launched cost PUBCO "over
So let's see, the constitutional challenge now underway
costs $400,000. PUBCO says Ottawa and Waterloo cost PUBCO
nearly $200,000. Yet PUBCO says its smoking ban revenue
from membership as stated by Dan Taite produces $20,000
(400 members x $50 = $20,000).
Can anyone make this add up?
- At the May 21st Council meeting in Callander, Dan Taite
also said that "I know Heather Crowe. She has stated that
if ventilation had been place in Ottawa, then she wouldn't
in the position she is in today."
In a May 22, 2003 to Mayor Hector Lavigne and other Callander
councillors, Heather Crowe said in part that "I was disturbed
to learn that Mr. Dan Tait (sic) appeared at your May
21st Council meeting and claimed that he knew me and further
claimed that if ventilation had been in place, I would
not be in the position I am today. I do not know Mr. Tait
and I have never made the claim about ventilation that
he attributed to me."
Well, maybe there are two Heather Crowes.
- The Callander meeting also heard Mr. Taite claim PUBCO
has "launched legal challenges before, but we've been unsuccessful
because we ran out of money."
No, Dan, actually, your challenges were thrown out of
court. See Thirsty's Bar and Grill et al. and the Regional
Municipality of Waterloo 2000; Pub and Bar Coalition of
Ontario and Rideau Carleton Raceway v. City of Ottawa
2001. Also, see Her Majesty the Queen v. 519653 Ontario
Inc., c.o.b. as Puzzles, January 2002; Her Majesty the
Queen v. Ample Annie's Itty Bitty Roadhouse et al., 2001;
Cambridge Bingo et al. and the Regional Municipality of
Waterloo 2000; and Ontario Restaurant Association et al.
and City of Toronto (1996) (unreported).
Smoke-free: 6, Smoking: 0, and it's nothing to do with
- In a further demonstration of mathematical aptitude, Dan
Taite told the Callander Council that smoking provides a
"$10 million revenue for the government".
Dan may have forgotten a few zeros. Last year, tobacco
tax revenue to the Ontario government was well over $1
billion. The federal government took in $2.1 billion during
the same period.
In contrast in Ontario, the most recent figures show
direct health care costs exceeded $1 billion annually,
with another $2.6 billion down the drain in foregone income
and lost productivity.
If PUBCO's this far off on basic tax data, think about
the validity of the rest of their numbers.