Alberta briefs – October 26

Alberta is joining other provinces suing tobacco companies to help pay some of the health costs of caring for smokers.

Alberta to sue tobacco firms

EDMONTON — Alberta is joining other provinces suing tobacco companies to help pay some of the health costs of caring for smokers.

Justice Minister Alison Redford says Alberta will join British Columbia, New Brunswick and Ontario in the litigation.

Redford says smoking causes some of the most expensive illnesses to treat, including cancer and heart disease.

The lawsuit is part of Alberta’s larger tobacco reduction strategy, which includes laws that now prohibit smoking in public places and workplaces and a ban on retail displays and advertising of tobacco.

Opposition parties lauded the move, though Kent Hehr of the Alberta Liberals says the government could go one step further and divest itself of shares in tobacco companies.

Rachel Notley of the NDP says it’s a good move, but one that could have come a lot sooner.

Province wins trade challenge

EDMONTON — Alberta says it has won a trade dispute over policies that restricted vegetable oil producers and refiners from selling in Ontario.

Alberta’s intergovernmental affairs minister says a panel ruled that Ontario regulations restricting the sale of such products are a barrier to interprovincial trade.

Iris Evans says for too long Ontario has maintained restrictions that are contrary to its domestic trade obligations.

The Agreement on Internal Trade panel has given Ontario until Feb. 1 to comply or face a penalty of up to $5 million.

Alberta says it launched the challenge in March with the support of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Common vegetable oils include canola, sunflower and soya which are often used to create blends of margarine and butter and blended drinks such as soymilk.

Man runs 200th marathon of year

CALGARY — Neither brutal weather, injuries nor tedium have slowed an Alberta man whose goal is to run 250 marathons this year to raise money for the organization Right to Play.

The finish line got closer Monday as Martin Parnell of Cochrane hit the 200 mark and still has two more months to achieve his goal.

“It’s a big day today, a big day. Looking forward to the final 50,” said a beaming Parnell as he took a break from running in Calgary.

“I’m on line. I’ve 66 days to do 50 marathons, so as long as I’m careful and nothing catastrophic happens — I don’t twist an ankle or something — I’ve got a good shot.”

Parnell, a 54-year-old semi-retired mining engineer originally from England, began his quest Jan. 1.

The ultra-marathon runner, who has competed in Ironman competitions, began competitive running seven years ago and has been running 42.2 kilometres — the equivalent of a marathon — five days a week.

“I couldn’t make the school soccer team,” he said with a chuckle.