In Toronto, the Ontario Superior Court agrees to extend until June 28 the protection of Ontario courts that has been granted to three cigarette companies. Last month, they were placed under the protection of the Creditors Arrangement Act after they were sentenced in Quebec to pay 15 billion dollars to 100 000 victims of smoking.
The Quebec victims did not oppose the request of the three tobacco companies to extend the protection of the courts until the summer. They have only two weeks to wait before the Ontario Superior Court decides in mid-April on their motion to overturn the Ontario court decision that granted such protection to the three tobacco companies. .
The objective : immediately obtain compensation of 15 billion in accordance with the verdict of the Court of Appeal of Quebec.
The victims' lawyers accuse the three tobacco companies of malicious and dilatory tactics. According to them, they can not claim bankruptcy until their appeal is eventually heard in the Supreme Court of Canada. However, some tobacco companies are now reluctant to appeal since they got court protection.
Eight provincial governments are also concerned because the Ontario judge who granted such protection has suspended all the country's appeals against the tobacco giants. Ironically, these provinces have lined up behind the companies they are pursuing because they hope to recover the billions of dollars they have spent on treating tobacco-related illnesses.
They fear that there will be no more money once Quebec victims are compensated. Only the Ontario government stands apart, because an expected trial this year may never take place if the protection afforded tobacco companies is not canceled. The Quebec government is the only one absent in this litigation.
source : Ici.radio-canada.ca/