Monday, October 25, 2010

88 year old smoker to be thrown into the street by housing association

I've written several articles over the past couple of years about the treatment afforded seniors at the hands of anti-smoker fanatics. I've expressed my concern for the elderly and infirm in senior's homes forced outside to have a cigarette in the severe, inhospitable weather conditions that are so much a part of Canadian winters.

In 2007, a worker at a Manitoulin Island (Ontario) long-term care home was charged with, and later acquitted of, criminal negligence causing death in the case of a
resident who died of exposure after he was forced to go outside, in minus 16 degrees Celsius cold, to have a smoke. Murray Miles Patterson, 65, a resident of the Manitoulin Lodge in Gore Bay died Jan. 17, 2007 at an area hospital.

The Smoke Free Ontario Act allows the creation of designated smoking rooms in long-term care facilities and psychiatric hospitals. Unfortunately, most facilities have decided not to build them, forcing many elderly, frail and often sick long-term smokers who can't, or won't, kick their habit to smoke outside.

Health Minister George Smitherman suggested at the time it was a "copout" to blame the government's anti-smoking law for the death. Smitherman is an ass and his response itself is the cop out.

Now, Calgary based Bishop O'Byrne Housing for Seniors Association is
planning to evict an 88 year old woman because she's a smoker. Philipina Schergevitch, has been a resident of the Francis Klein Centre, which is operated by the association, for the last ten years. The life long smoker, who has been smoking since she was fifteen, has been told her lease will not be renewed; to pack up and find alternate living accommodation by the end of the month.

Myrt Butler, the association's chief administrative officer, said the board of directors voted five years ago to implement a no-smoking policy in all of its Calgary units. In 2009, residents were given one-year notice there would be a ban on smoking in suites, effective July 31, 2010. Short-term leases were signed with smoking tenants so they could either adjust or find alternative housing.

Tenants are allowed to smoke in designated exterior areas, Butler said.

How compassionate of them; how caring; how fucking condescending. To demand that elderly seniors either quit or do their smoking outside, exposed to the elements and all the adverse health consequences that entails for an individual of advanced years; colds, flu, pneumonia. This is incoherent, irrational thinking, devoid of any sense of proportionality.

The Non-Smokers Rights Association, the Canadian Cancer Society, and the other anti-smoker bastards are likely rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of putting the boots to an 88 year old smoker. After all, that's why they exist; to make life as miserable as possible for smokers, and damn the consequences.

And, what about the government?

According to neighbour, Carol James, "These are independent apartments, subsidized for low-income seniors and they have to find something like it, but there's very little out there."

If these are subsidized units, then the subsidy is likely provided by some level of government. Will the government agency responsible do anything to prevent this travesty of justice. Or does the government believe this is an appropriate mechanism to “motivate” seniors to give up their smoking habit?

The evidence used to justify smoking bans in multi-unit rental buildings is rooted in studies of prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke, usually over a lifetime, and the onset of chronic diseases like lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. The amount of secondhand smoke required to generate even a minute elevation in risk has never been accurately measured in those studies. And, the evidence is nowhere near as conclusive as claimed by anti-smoker zealots.

Anti-smoker fanatics rely on the preposterous claim that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. They argue the extreme, and nonsensical, position that, if you can smell, it could kill you. They scour apartment buildings for those who claim to be severely affected by even the tiniest exposure to SHS. And a dumbed down media dutifully disseminates their propaganda as if it were the norm.

But there has never, repeat - never, been a study on the health effects from secondhand smoke drifting through solid walls, through plumbing or electrical fixtures or air vents. The amount of exposure required to cause adverse health effects of any kind under these conditions has never been measured. The number of people adversely affected has never been quantified.

If landlords want to ban smokers renting apartments because a small number of residents consider it a nuisance, they should be free to do so. But, they should not be invoking public health concerns to justify their bigotry. The evidence simply doesn't exist.

Throwing an 88 year old woman into the streets offers some insight into the real motivation of the power hungry bastards in the anti-smoker “movement” and their politics of fear. They simply hate smokers.

All Canadians, smokers and non-smokers alike, should be expressing their indignation at this travesty. It will take only a few minutes of your time to tell the bigots at Bishop O'Byrne Housing for Seniors Association what you think about this outrage, committed in the name of “public health”.

As for the anti-smoker fanatics and their lap dogs in the press . . . fuck'em.

Send them an Email:
Francis Klein Centre - Email:
Bishop O'Byrne Housing for Seniors Association - Email:

Read some of my previous comments on this subject.
Throw smokers into the street say anti-smokers
Secondhand smoke travels through solid walls
Secondhand smoke and multi-unit dwellings

A few bloggers in the UK have picked up on this story and plan to send a letter of protest to Bishop O'Byrne Housing for Seniors Association. You can find details at the The Smoking Doctor or F2C Scotland. If you want to sign the letter of protest, you can send your name and email address to Or write your own email and send it to one of the addresses given above.


Belinda said...

Not just Canadians ...

and many others in the UK know about this

TheBigYin said...

I've written about this over at my place. I think this an obscene treatment of the elderly, it's wrong and smacks of Nazisim of the worst kind, if you can get any worse.

Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

Great post, if that's the right words.

Anonymous said...

This poor woman shouldn't expect any help from the government who encourage & enforce this type of bigotry.

If this was anyone other than a smoker the human rights lawyers and do-gooders would be out in force, but because this woman is a smoker she's classed as a non person, sub-human and not deemed fit to live in decent society.

Talk about history repeating itself, and what amazes me is the self same people who condemn what happened to jews & other undesirables are at the forefront of this dehumanisation pogram and slap each other on he back for a job well done.

May God forgive these monsters because I know I never will, I condemn them to hell.

Strange that there's not widespread condemnation of this, the MSM are very quiet, why?

Anonymous said...

Second hand smoke kills - perhaps she should take advantage of quit smoking services.

The Old Rambler said...

And, what's troubling you Bucko? Pissed off that a smoker could live to celebrate her 88th birthday? Or, do you actually believe that bullshit?

TheBigYin said...

Rambler the type of comment from anon (2.09pm), especially about anyone near octogenarian status is concerned, really pisses me off. My mother is eighty, my wife is 71, both smoke moderately and I find it difficult to say to them that the must stand outside in all weathers to have a cigeratte while they are socialising. My mother knows the score but my wife, who has Alzheimer's does not.

I have seen older women and men being wheeled outside in all weathers from pubs just to have a cigarette.

This whole smoking ban is nothing to do with health, no matter which country you live in, never has, it's about hatred towards smokers, no matter how old.

It's time to fight fire with fire!

The Old Rambler said...

To TheBigYin,

As a senior myself, and I must admit that it also pisses me off. I've been preaching non-violence since I got out of the army over forty years ago. But these anti-smoker scumbags shouldn't mistake me for a pacifist.

Anonymous said...

There simply is no evidence to justify banning smoking in peoples own homes and effectively making them homeless; if they are not able to comply.
Bishop O'Byrne Housing for Seniors Associations actions are completely despicable and beyond belief.
Calling them nazis feels like it would be an understatement.

bannedsmoker said...

Excellent post good Sir, as usual.

The Smoke Free Ontario Act allows the creation of designated smoking rooms in long-term care facilities and psychiatric hospitals. Unfortunately, most facilities have decided not to build them, forcing many elderly, frail and often sick long-term smokers who can't, or won't, kick their habit to smoke outside.

If I remember right, the simple reason many facilities decided not to build them is because they (the ANTI-smoker league) made sure to make them prohibitively expensive to be up to "Smoke-Free Ontario Act's" standards. With the "2-door-air-tight vestibule/airlock systems" and all.

Would probably have to call in NASA to build the thing.

They would only be "legal" if the facility bankrupts itself and who would want to do that?

Quite "clever" aren't they?

The Old Rambler said...


You're bang on.

Cost is the most frequent excuse for not providing indoor smoking rooms for those confined to nursing homes and long term care facilities. The second most common excuse is that designated smoking rooms would not protect staff from exposure to SHS.

The absurd contentions of the anti-smoker zealots, that there is no safe level of exposure to SHS and that a civilization which can put a man on the moon can't devise a ventilation/air extraction system to clear away second hand smoke, has made it practically impossible to meet the standards set by the Smoke Free Ontario Act.

And, the Act's insistence that outdoor smoking areas must be exposed to the elements further complicates matters for seniors and the disabled who choose to smoke.