Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Day 79: Another lawyer in the court

See note on accessing documents at the end of this post.


No one was shelling out Halloween candies in Montreal's Palais de Justice, but nonetheless treats were in store today for those following developments at the trial of the Quebec tobacco class action suits.

Yesterday, Justice Riordan had elicited an explanation from a former executive with Rothmans, Benson and Hedges (Mr. John Broen) that the Canadian companies complied with the position of the multinational companies on sensitive issue, but "were never actually told what to say."

The documents introduced through today's witness, Mr. Guy-Paul Massicotte, shed light on how that worked. They describe the policy and public relations network that was developed by the multinational industry to generate a common industry position on key issues and to keep everyone on the same page. That network relied on each country having a point-person to act as a conduit of information.

For the three years he worked at RJR-Macdonald (from 1977 to 1980), Mr. Massicotte was that person.

Mr. Massicotte - a witness not like the others

Although he does not look it, Guy-Paul Massicotte at 72 was likely the oldest of the 22 lawyers in the courtroom today. He is now a 'retired' lawyer, but continues to do work for the steel manufacturer, IVACO, where he became corporate counsel after he left RJR-Macdonald in 1980.

The polite tone among plaintiff lawyer André Lespérance, witness Guy-Paul Massicotte and JTI-defense lawyer Francois Grondin and the fact that, unusually, all the lawyers were speaking in their mother tongue may have contributed to the efficiency with which documents were put into evidence.

Mr. Massicotte was invited to comment on many of these documents, at which times he seemed sympathetic to the tobacco industry. He certainly did not distance himself from his work at RJR-Macdonald and the CTMC over 30 years ago. He echoed the view of many witnesses at this trial that the tobacco business was a 'legal business' operating with government approval. He still uses the word  "we" when referring to the tobacco industry. He came across as a sincere and credible witness, albeit not one with a fine memory for details 30 years old.

The ICOSI landscape

ICOSI has only been a minor detail in the trial to date, and usually it has taken several weeks and witnesses to so clearly present a storyline of what happened within the industry. To have the new story of ICOSI so compactly told today was a pleasure to watch.  (An alternative telling can be found in the article "Tobacco industry issues management organizations: Creating a global corporate network to undermine public health")

Mr. Massicotte began working for RJR-Macdonald just at the time that ICOSI was in development.

Even before he began with the company, he was identified as the man who would take care of Canada for the new global network. "Guy-Paul Massicotte, newly hired legal counsel for Macdonald Tobacco Inc., will assume responsibility for smoking and health when he comes on board early this fall." (Exhibit 580). His responsibility among others was "To establish an early warning system on scientific, legislative, political and similar matters relating to smoking and health." (Exhibit 580B).

It was not long before Mr. Massicotte was providing information up the line on the position of the Canadian companies, and on the process within the Canadian industry to sense early warnings. (Exhibit 580A  580C  958,  964). He also funnelled information from ICOSI and the Tobacco Institute down into Canadia, using it for example in his attempts to pre-empt tobacco regulations in Quebec. (Exhibit 964964A, 964B, 964C965)

Although this project is still not very high on the Government list of priorities, we feel that it is imperative that we act quickly so as to attempt to remove the most harmful proposals at an early stage before the Government becomes committed to a final policy proposal. As you know, I will be going to Quebec City tomorrow with a representative of Imperial Tobacco to present our own material, (including the ICOSI position paper on public smoking which has been translated into French) for their use and reflection prior to issuing a revised paper. 

While at RJR-Macdonald, Mr. Massicotte participated in the development of CTMC strategies to block legislation (Exhibit 966  966A). He tracked the successes and failures of the industry in blocking smoking restrictions against the interventions that had been made. (Exhibit 967967A967B)

Social Acceptability

One of the recurrent issues in the documents presented to Mr. Massicotte was the issue of social acceptability of smoking. 

In 1980, Mr. Massicotte had written that "social acceptability of smoking" was "of utmost importance to the industry.”  (Exhibit 966A - not yet available) Only when pressed by Justice Riordan to state whether there was a relationship between social acceptability and total sales did he concede "I guess you could say so." 

Social acceptability was not merely about smoking bans (Mr. Massicotte was most likely to volunteer those as an example of acceptability issues). ICOSI also saw it linked to warnings, advertising and influencing social and political climate. "We should influence as far as proper medical and official opinion against incautious imposition of constraints and unnecessary restrictions on smoking. To do this it may be necessary to talk to medical authorities and government agencies." (Exhibit 968B)

RJReynolds Industries (the ultimate parent company of RJR-Macdonald) was very concerned about social acceptability, and its vice president, Denis Durden, chaired the ICOSI committee on the topic. (Exhibit 968D968I968M). This group assessed the pressures on smokers in different countries, finding Canada friendlier to tobacco than Sweden, the UK or the USA. (Exhibit 968C).

The SAWP called for far reaching countermeasures, and recommending branching out from focusing only on governments to trying to influence society more generally. "The Working Party has found only a few campaigns that are systematically designed to influence the general public, opinion leaders and senior bureaucrats who exert such great influence on contemporary social acceptability issues."  (Exhibit 968C)

Documents tabled today show that Mr. Massicotte received materials on social acceptability that were for his "appropriate distribution" in Canada.  He also received training and exchanged information at meetings in the United States and Switzerland. (Exhibit 968G968H968J968K968968A968L968E968F)

Mr. Massicotte is expected to finish his testimony tomorrow. The trial will not sit next week during its regularly scheduled break.

To access trial documents linked to this site:

The documents are on the web-site maintained by the plaintiff's lawyers. To access them, it is necessary to gain entry to the web-site. Fortunately, this is easy to do.

Step 1: Click on: https://tobacco.asp.visard.ca

Step 2: Click on the blue bar on the splash-page "Acces direct a l'information/direct access to information" You will then be taken to the document data base.


Step 3: Return to this blog - and click on any links.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Day 78: Thirteen Riveting Minutes

See note on accessing documents at the end of this post.

Mr. John Broen returned to the stand today for his last half-day of testimony at the Montreal trial of the Quebec tobacco class action suits. During his first appearance on October 15 and 16 he had distinguished himself as one of the worst witnesses to-date - he was argumentative, defiant and evasive. So it was a surprise that he closed his testimony at noon today with some of the most damning - and telling - insights into the Canadian cigarette business.

It came after Bruce Johnston had finished his questions for the plaintiffs and Simon Potter had finished his cross examination. (More on this part of the morning follows below). It was only a few minutes after noon when Justice Riordan began a 13 minute exchange with the witness.

The same John Broen who had struggled to find ways to avoid answering Mr. Johnston's questions was suddenly opening up to the judge. The change in his body language and speech patterns gave a credibility that had been lacking in his earlier statements to the court.

In recent weeks, Justice Riordan has more frequently put questions directly to the witnesses, but has usually only done so to restate a question that has been misunderstood or is being avoided. By contrast, his questions today were original and pointed. This is Justice Riordan's second substantive engagement with witnesses in three court days --  lawyers on both sides hung on every word.

The stakes in this case are big, and the outcome depends at this stage on Justice Riordan's analysis. No wonder he is the object of scrutiny and curiosity. For those unable to observe him first hand, I have tried unsuccessfully to find an official court photo. Failing that, I have found one from a different kind of court -- a photo from the McGill basketball team alumni page. Justice Riordan is not always given a reason to smile so broadly during this trial!

The transcript of today's exchange, when it is available tomorrow, will show that his questions to Mr. Broen cut to the heart of the cigarette enterprise, if not to this case. Until then, my rough notes may suffice:

Justice Brian Riordan (BR): In the companies where you worked were cigarettes considered to be a cause of lung cancer?
Mr. John Broen (JB): (Long pause). That is not actually one I want to answer yes or no to. In the early days there was scepticism. I have always said it may cause. In the early days in the industry there was a general feeling that way that it was not absolutely a proven link. I say early days because I have been questioned back to 1957 while I was here.

BR: In your personal experience?
JB: In the early days, yes I think so. I don’t think it was published like it is today and has it has been. Generally it  was agreed to by different companies in a different way. "Cause" has taken a different meaning over the years. There was an acknowledgement that it was risky and an acknowledgement that it could cause cancer.

BR: I have heard a number of times "cigarettes can be a cause of lung cancer in some people." Does that reflect anything you ever heard while working in the industry?
JB: Perhaps not worded exactly like that.
BR: What wording would you use?
JB: Well, maybe I was using semantics. Generally it was acknowledged in my years in the industry 
BR: When you got together with your other chief executives, surely you must have spoken about the health risks of smoking?
JB: Not really. That was an individual company thing for individual companies to take a position on.

BR: Did you have a management committee in your company?
JB: Yes
BR: In those meetings would you discuss the health effects?
JB: Not specifically, because we were all of one mind that it was a risky proposition and some people are going to have problems, problems of the heart, problems of the lungs. Smoking has been attached to an awful lot of diseases all the way from colon cancer to what not. We didn’t specifically go through a discussion on that topic. 
BR: When you were recruiting people for high level jobs, was it ever an issue?
JB: I don’t recall that. I believe people were asked if they had a problem with smoking. 
BR: Did candidates ask you about the companies' position on smoking and health?
JB: I don’t know. I personally didn’t interview anybody after about 1970. I just don't recall whether it was asked. I assume it was.
BR: Was there ever a discussion within your company on how to respond to the question I just asked you – is smoking a cause of cancer ?
JB: Not really. This is an area where I was asked earlier whether I received direction. I don’t want to use 'direction" in this particular instance as in 'direction from our principal shareholders.' But we watched closely what the position of our principal shareholders was. As a general statement we tended to follow what they said as they took a position on international companies as to what their position was on smoking and the potential health effects. 
BR: So they didn’t tell you want you say but you made sure you didn't contradict them – is that fair?
JB: They never said "thou shalt not." But we kept abreast because we wanted to not do anything that was contrary or different to what they were doing. 
BR: You did more than that. You kept abreast and you made sure you conformed.
JB: There was a lead we took by following what they were saying. We were never actually told.
BR: You were president of one of the companies for a while. Did you ever give direction to the VP of corporate affairs or to people working for you to say "follow what the parent companies say?”
JB: The only person who was a spokesperson for the company was someone who reported to me – John Macdonald – he was the company spokesperson. He was the one who really kept track very carefully what was being said on this issue and this subject. Not only by our parents but what was being said by our parent companies around the world. That was part of his mandate. He know what was being said and he knew he was never ordered about what to say but he knew it was not correct to veer off the path that the other companies were saying. We were a very small company so we weren’t able to go and verify this sort of thing. As a little company we took the lead by keeping track of what was being said. 

BR: You took lead from the parent companies and complied with it?
JB: Yes.
BR: Mr. Macdonald implicitly knew this was his directions or did you specifically indicate that he should follow their lead?
JB: I never explicitly said don’t go beyond what was being said anywhere else. He just knew that this is what he should be staying with – also a position that other companies took on this issues
BR: Did he have role in the CTMC?
JB: He was involved in the public affairs committee. He attended some of those meetings, not all. 
BR: Did he ever mention that it was discussed
JB: Not that I recall.

Earlier in the day

During the earlier part of the morning, Mr. Johnston introduced only a few new documents to the trial. He presented an interesting business analysis from the early 1990s, which described BMV cigarettes. (Exhibit 911). Mr. Broen explained that BMV - Below Market Value cigarettes were usually considered to be smuggled products, or those made from home-grown tobacco. As early as September 1993 - before the election and change in government - RBH was anticipating that cigarette taxes would be rolled back.  Contraband continued to be used as a way to discourage governments from passing tobacco control laws, as in Quebec in 1998. (Exhibit 912)

When RBH placed a billboard for Craven A cigarettes near an Ottawa high school, a response was prepared that was wholly unapologetic and defended the promotion of such sponsorships. (Exhibit 913) Today Mr. Broen was asked whether part of the purpose of such ads was to "raise awareness of the brand." "Yes" he admitted.

Insight into John Broen's work as a marketer can be taken from a memo he wrote in preparation for the change in smoking methods in 1985. (Exhibit 914) In addition to a trenchant political analysis and competitive review, he comments that the change will not "serve to solve our Company's problem of the lack of King Size starter smokers."

Mr. Broen was asked about John Luik, who had written to the Globe and Mail saying he was "neither an employee of the industry nor some hired intellectual hitman, charged by the industry with creating arguments in favour of their position." (Exhibit 915) Given the contrary view of Mr. Luik in some circles, Mr. Johnston asked whether this was a "true statement." "I believe so," said Mr. Broen, but under further questioning he qualified that Mr. Luik was not a hitman for the 'industry' but that he was rather engaged by Rothmans.

Another question on which he dissembled was why the company opposed smoking bans. At first he denied that there was opposition: "We didn’t oppose bans that were as specific to restaurants and so on but we just tried to put forward our position that it wasn’t necessary. That changed over time." 

As for the Smokers Freedom Society, he explained "there was a tidal wave of criticism of smoking in public  places and so on and it was better to have someone that didn’t exactly go along with the views of those criticizing the industry. No one was speaking for our side."

The Cross Examination

Only Mr. Potter chose to cross-examine Mr. Broen, and this time he did not focus his questions on the role of the federal government but instead gave a series of soft-ball questions. ("An area where emotions ran high - is this how you saw discussion of tobacco issues?" - "how much did your [foreign owners] get involved in your company"). He tried to weaken the impact of Mr. Broen's stated concern about promotions in Junior Hockey by implying (without showing) that there were ads for cars and whisky in the same magazine.

Later that day

When the court reconvened in the afternoon, the benches had been cleared of senior members of the legal team and the legal gowns had been put aside. With no witnesses to be heard, the business of the day was set to return to the filing of "orphan documents" into the court record, but not before there was a renewed discussion of the acceptability of Legacy documents in this trial.

Mr. Potter has apparently made good on his promise to file a motion to prevent the testimony of Kim Klausner from the Legacy Library which is scheduled for November 12 and 13. (Such motions are part of the public court record, but are not readily available, so consider my report as hearsay!)

I think the question was left still rather open. Mr. André Lespérance explained the categories of documents that they wished to file, and Justice Riordan probed alternative ways to consider or use these documents. It's all a little fuzzy to me where the issue currently stands, but may perhaps become clearer.

In the remaining hour Ms. Gabrielle Gagné introduced a score of new orphan documents, which have not yet been made available on the plaintiff's database. There will be time to look at these next week when the trial is recessed.

For the rest of this week, a lawyer will be testifying. Mr. Guy Paul Massicotte was counsel for RJR-Macdonald in the late 1970s.

To access trial documents linked to this site:

The documents are on the web-site maintained by the plaintiff's lawyers. To access them, it is necessary to gain entry to the web-site. Fortunately, this is easy to do.

Step 1: Click on: https://tobacco.asp.visard.ca

Step 2: Click on the blue bar on the splash-page "Acces direct a l'information/direct access to information" You will then be taken to the document data base.


Step 3: Return to this blog - and click on any links.


Monday, 29 October 2012

Day 77: Mr. Bulmer 34 years later

See note on accessing documents at the end of this post.

Gabrielle Gagné
There was a familiar face in a new role at the front of the room when the Montreal tobacco trial resumed this morning. Ms. Gabrielle Gagné, who works with the plaintiff's firm Lauzon, Bélanger Lespérance moved up from her usual position as the doyenne of documents and took responsibility for the examination of today's witness, Mr. Ron Bulmer.

I was again struck by the changes in the mood that accompany changes to the front bench. Ms. Gagne is likely the youngest lawyer in the courtroom (I think she was only called to the bar last year) and something that felt like paternal support seemed to surround her initial questions.

Even Mr. Potter kept his elbows in more than he usually does when defending his company's witnesses, and voiced his objections in a  non-disruptive way. Justice Riordan smoothly intervened on a few occasions when the witness wandered off course in response to uncomfortable questions. Ms. Gagné kept a steady and measured flow of questions to the witness. At the end of the day, with the court almost empty, Justice Riordan kindly told Ms. Gagné that she had "done a good job."

Ronald Williard Bulmer

Ron Bulmer in 1977
Ron Bulmer is a man who could be forgiven for having only a dim memory of events at Benson & Hedges more than 34 years ago, when he worked there as a marketer. But his recall seemed better than many other witnesses who have preceded him.

He would have been 29 years old when he joined the marketing department as a senior product manager in 1972. Over the next 6 years he was promoted to the position of vice-president of marketing.

Mr. Bulmer described his departure from Benson & Hedges in March 1978 as "part of the change" of removing both president and vice president of marketing. Mr. Broen, who was then president of the company, had testified that he was "relieved of his position" in 1978, but there has been no reason given for why both men were sent packing.

Although Mr. Bulmer has had nothing to do with the tobacco industry for more than three decades, he has not been isolated from the tragic consequences that can be caused by commercial activities that don't respond to scientific knowledge. After he left the tobacco business, he went to commercial fishing industry and was for a time president of the Fisheries Council of Canada.

Viscount and Ultralight cigarettes


Exhibit 891
The main focus of Mr. Bulmer's testimony today was the development and marketing of Canada's first free-standing low-tar cigarette brand, Viscount and Viscount ultra-light. A useful snapshot of the breadth of marketing of the brand is an 8 page brochure designed for cigarette distributors, (Exhibit 891) as is a later assembly of market research (Exhibit 896). These documents include information on the marketing team, cigarette ads, details on sponsorship and even repeats health information from the Tobacco Institute dismissing concerns about second hand smoke.

The sale of light cigarettes to respond to smokers' concerns about health was the subject of a dozen exhibits and showed the care with which marketing research segmented with respect to their health knowledge and concerns (Exhibit 895).

For these low-tar (low-taste) brands they considered flavour enhancers (Exhibit 892) , but Mr. Bulmer testified today that such additives were never finally used. The documents reveal the pressure the companies were under in their race-to-the-bottom of tar values (Exhibit 893), the intense effort that went into the descriptor 'mild' (Exhibit 897) and the colour used (Exhbit 894).

Complaining when health warnings are too large

When Imperial Tobacco launched the Medallion brand to compete with Viscount as a stand alone low-tar brand, Mr. Bulmer entered into a spitting match with his counterpoint at Imperial Tobacco, Mr. Anthony Kalhok over the use of the word "mildest". (Exhibits 50007 and 50008). Even the printing of the health warning and constituent information in a larger font size was cause for his concern. (Exhibit 898).

YOHD - Youth Oriented High Delivery

During Mr. Bulmer's time at Benson & Hedges, the marketing department sought to develop a brand to compete in the largest smoking segment (young males), aware that they were losing potential customers to Players Light and Export A. The company observed that every year there were 300,000 new smokers joining the market.

Several documents that were part of a youth market 1977 file were entered on the record (Exhibit 899899A899B899C) . Mr. Bulmer testified today that despite the attempts of some in the marketing department to move in this direction, the project never resulted in a new brand launch before he left the company the following year.

The mysterious participation at the College of Tobacco Knowledge

Two weeks ago, Mr. Broen had been asked about his attendance at a Tobacco Institute event (College of Tobacco Knowledge), but had denied attending despite being on the student roster and being profiled among participating students. Mr. Bulmer was similarly listed, and today Mr. Johnston tried again to confirm the presence of Benson and Hedges executives at this event. He was again unsuccessful. The names of three B&H executives (Mr. Broen, Mr. Bulmer and Mr. Leckie) are listed among those for whom hotel reservations had been made. Nonetheless,  Mr. Bulmer disavowed any knowledge of the event and said he had never gone. He was double certain: "I am quite sure myself, and I checked with my wife."

The companies didn't talk about health things

Mr. Bulmer's understanding of smoking seemed at times more old-fashioned that other witnesses. He is  reluctant to agree that smokers smoked for nicotine and not just 'taste', and still seems to believe that the machine values for tar and nicotine are reliable as indicators of actual exposure to tar or nicotine. Even the core issues of whether smoking was harmful seemed to have passed him by. ("In the 1970s we did not have evidence. We knew that cigarettes were a risky product. But we didn’t deal with evidence per se.")

At the very end of his testimony, Mr. Bulmer was asked by Mr. Johnson whether any consideration was given to health effects of cigarettes before he and his colleagues decided to market them. "You didn’t talk about health things?" Mr. Bulmer replied: "Not in the 70s."

But they sure did write about them

At the end of Mr. Bulmer's testimony their remained 45 minutes in the normal court day, during which time Gabrielle Gagne continued the work of placing "orphan" documents onto the court record. The documents filed today are only a handful of years before Mr. Bulmer's time at Benson & Hedges, and show the intense interest in health things within some quarters.

1969
  • The invisible hand of Hill and Knowlton - Carl Thompson's spin on a health ministry review of the economic impact of smoking. Exhibit 900
  • Press release of a speech give by Paul Paré before National Association of Tobacco and Confectionery Distributors Exhibit 901
  • Tobacco Institute ad reprinting Advertising Age comment that health agency claims about health concerns with smoking are untruthful.  Exhibit 902 
1970
  • Highly confidential material provided from BAT - a "strictly confidential document on what might be described as the tactical and commercial side of the Smoking and Health problem". Exhibit 903  9903A903B903C, 903D903E
  • Advice from Hill and Knowlton's Carl Thompson regarding an initial meeting between ministry of health officials and industry representatives.Exhibit 904905905A 
  • Memo from BAT to "No. 1s" enclosing a media presentation from Brown & Williamson, noting "The smoking and health situation in the U.K. differs from that in the U.S.A. in that, however skilled the presentation, the continued questioning by tobacco industry spokesmen of evidence which the majority of British doctors have accept as conclusive would be counterproductive." Exhibit 906906A,
  • Response of Paul Paré to question from the Financial Post on how he could reconcile his leadership in a harmful industry. "However, no proof has been found that tobacco smoking causes human disease. The results of the scientific research and investigation indicate that tobacco, especially the cigarette, has been unfairly made a scapegoat in recent. times for nearly every ill that can affect mankind." Exhibit 907
  • BAT has received a secret advanced copy of a new report of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons and sends analysis and information to its affiliates on how to spin the report. Exhibit 908908A908B908C
  • 1970 budget for the Ad-hoc committee (the precursor to the CTMC) Exhibit 909
  • 1970 brochure of the Tobacco Institute on "The Cigarette Controversy" Exhibit 910

Not without a struggle: will Legacy documents find their way to this trial?

At the beginning of this morning's proceedings, Simon Potter gave notice that he intended to present a motion to prevent authentication of documents by Kim Klausner, a witness from the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library at the University of California San Franciso. Ms. Klausner is currently scheduled  as the first witness after next week's break (she is expected to testify on November 12 and 13).

While Justice Riordan didn't seem too thrilled by the prospect of a formal motion and written arguments (ten minutes into the day he was already holding his head in his hands!), he did press the plaintiffs to explain the legal basis on which they thought the documents could be admitted into evidence.

That discussion is expected to be held tomorrow, although 'priority will be given to Mr. Broen.'  Mr. Broen is expected to finish his testimony tomorrow  . 

To access trial documents linked to this site:
The documents are on the web-site maintained by the plaintiff's lawyers. To access them, it is necessary to gain entry to the web-site. Fortunately, this is easy to do.

Step 1: Click on: https://tobacco.asp.visard.ca

Step 2: Click on the blue bar on the splash-page "Acces direct a l'information/direct access to information" You will then be taken to the document data base.


Step 3: Return to this blog - and click on any links.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Day 76: Wise Decisions

See note on accessing documents at the end of this post.

It was another intense but pleasant day at the trial of the Quebec class action suits as Mary Trudelle, a former marketer and public relations director with RJR-Macdonald, finished her second day of testimony. The reduction in stress that happens when JTI-Macdonald's lawyers are at the helm of the defense was visible in many ways - the odd pleasantry, a bit of laughter all around and much less temple-rubbing by Justice Riordan. Less stressful, perhaps, but nonetheless one of the most intense days of testimony to date.

Ms. Trudelle continued to answer questions like a skilled public relations official, expertly reframing each question in her answers. By the end of the day the image of pearls came to mind -- unwanted truths were covered with layers of more attractive nacre. But she did not hesitate in providing answers and underneath the nacre was a lot of new information to the trial.

Justice Riordan: "I am astounded"

Mary Trudelle's involvement in RJR-Macdonald's development of youth prevention programs was one of the more memorable stories in this trial. Yesterday, Ms. Trudelle had been shown her correspondence with consultants working on a school-based program whose purpose she described today was to "guide them [students] through the thinking process, start to talk about it amongst themselves so they can start to digest the information and start to make their own decisions."  (The program was called Wise Decisions. - Exhibit 867, 867A867B)

At the beginning of the day, she was asked to further explain the edits she was requesting to the copy that was proposed to be sent to schools across Canada. She said that the edits came not only from her but from a panel of four "independent consultants who had experience in the educational field from a mixture of positions." She could name only one of them -- Glenna Carr -  more famous for her work in blurring the borders between private and public sector than education or health.

Plaintiff lawyer Philippe Trudel wanted to know why the proposed student guide mentioned nothing about cigarettes being addictive, and why the program was so insistent on the teacher not offering any factual information on tobacco use. Ms. Trudelle explained repeatedly that the purpose of the exercise was to get the students to "do the work themselves," "to seek out information", "to develop critical thinking skills" and to "form their own opinion". 

Justice Riordan very rarely responds to a witness' testimony. In what I think to be the longest comment to a witness at this trial, he did not keep the bewilderment out of his voice: "You are about the tenth witness to say that the industry couldn’t say anything – and now I see a company trying to insert itself into a school curriculum – what was the business plan behind this ?  I am astounded!'

Later in the day Bruce Johnston, in a short round of questions, returned to Wise Decisions project, and offered documentary clues as to the business plan that would justify the expense of going into Canadian schools and encouraging children to "make up their own minds" without teacher guidance. 

He began by pointing to work that had been commissioned by the CTMC into ways to improve the public view of tobacco companies. A year before Ms. Trudelle had offered her instructions to the project's authors, the public affairs firm the Strategic Counsel was focus testing ideas for youth programming.  The object of the research did not include determining how to prevent youth from smoking, but rather assess public reactions and identify concept(s) "that would enhance the image of the tobacco industry." (Exhibit 462462A)

Ms Trudelle acknowledged that a partial role for the project was to enhance the image of their company (this was not a CTMC project), but denied Mr. Johnston's suggestions that the purpose was to reinforce the "right to choose to smoke."  Nor would she accept the linking of the idea of a project she described as "designed to facilitate decision-making" to the concept of right to choose.

Mr. Johnston presented more documents that made that link between "wise decision" and "right to choose." In May 1996, Mr. Trudelle had received a report from Allan Gregg's Strategic Counsel on Communications Strategy to Enhance the Reputation of the Tobacco Industry. (Exhibit 775) Top of the list of suggested ideas was a program to prevent youth smoking.

Four-in-ten say their image of those who run tobacco companies would improve "significantly" if they saw tobacco companies doing something to prevent youth smoking. Among the various actions the tobacco industry could take to promote responsible decision-making, this type of action would clearly be the most effective.  This approach was proposed in the context that "The goal of the strategy is to reinforce the general public's right to choose."
 
 
Other snippets from the day
 
Another way to hide the fact you are researching youth.
 
Pollsters can't control who answers to phone, and so questions are used to screen out the wrong respondents to phone surveys. Mary Trudelle was shown a screener used by their pollsters, in which non-smokers were screened out in the first question. Using this approach, it is only after the respondant has said what brand they smoke and how long they have been smoking that the sixth question - the age of the respondent - is asked. That is to say, information on whether young people, how much they smoke, which brand they smoke and how long the have been smoking is collected. (Exhibit 869)

Putting your message out there.

Mary Trudelle had said yesterday that media measurements were used to ensure that there was no disproportionately young viewership of its promotional material. Mr. Trudel asked her how they knew this was the case when they advertised in metro stations, or on ski hills. (Their media plan noted that "in Quebec, RJR also had the opportunity to purchase advertising via Ski-View. This medium provides 34 panels on ski-lifts, during the skiing season, at leading ski centres throughout the province." - Exhibit 875880)

Which brand helps smokers quit? And why is this a problem?

In 1986, RJR-Macdonald's marketing department was looking at the different quitting rates of smokers of different brands. Two of their major brands, Export and Vantage, were seen as more vulnerable to smokers "leaving the market." (Exhibit 877)

Tough questions -- what were the answers again?

In preparation for Robert Parker's appearance on behalf of the CTMC at the parliamentary committee hearing on plain packaging, a rehearsal meeting was planned. Questions were drafted for all the CTMC witnesses. If nothing else, this document shows that the industry was aware of some of the vulnerabilities in their public messaging. (Exhibit 884)

10. You' re still evading the question. Is that because you lose no matter what your answer is - if you admit you know it is addictive, then you' re guilty of hiding that information from the public, and if you deny it you' re guilty of being stupid — of refusing to acknowledge something the whole world knows to be true? Isn't that what we' re really dealing with here?

Using colours to convey "strength"

As they prepared to introduce an "ultra light" variant of their Export A brand, RJR-Macdonald tested which of the colours silver, gold, or grey stripe best projected the image they were trying to seek. The grey stripe was judged "better for health/healthier than other cigarettes" and having  "less tar than regular" and was recommended for use. (Exhibit 885.) Three years later, they were again looking at package design. (Exhibit 886)


Next week, the plaintiff's case begins its home stretch of industry witnesses. On Monday, Ron Bulmer (formerly with Benson and Hedges) will testify. On Tuesday, John Broen will return. On Wednesday and Thursday, the former legal counsel for RJR-Macdonald, Guy Paul Massicotte will appear. 

After the break during the week of November 5-8, the remaining major industry witness will be the current president of Rothmans, Benson & Hedges (Mr. John Barnett), who is scheduled to testify on November 19-21. 

To access trial documents linked to this site:The documents are on the web-site maintained by the Plaintiff's lawyers. To access them, it is necessary to gain entry to the web-site. Fortunately, this is easy to do.

Step 1: Click on: https://tobacco.asp.visard.ca

Step 2: Click on the blue bar on the splash-page
"Acces direct a l'information/direct access to information"
You will then be taken to the document data base.

Step 3: Return to this blog - and click on any links.


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Day 75: Trudel and Trudelle

See note at the end of this post for information on accessing documents

If you could only choose one day to attend the Montreal trial of the Quebec class action suits, today would have been a very good one to select. The witness, Mary Trudelle, was interesting and likeable, the documents were fascinating, and the lawyers were on their best behaviour.

And yet there was no one in the public section of the court except for yours truly and colleague blogger, Pierre Croteau. The legal roadies that had been hanging out during the testimony of Philip Morris' affiliate, Rothmans Benson and Hedges, had cleared off. So too had the young lawyer who is a note-taker for a legal  firm representing insurance agencies - perhaps JTI is not among her client's clients.

Because of the previous testimonies of JTI-Macdonald witnesses, I knew there would be no heavy body-checking between lawyers today. Sure enough, the defendant lawyer in charge today, Francois Grondin, continued in the very civil tone that has characterized all of the Borden Ladner Gervais team at this trial to date. I also knew that plaintiff lawyer, Philippe Trudel, would bring his gentleness to the often unpleasant task of pulling truths from witnesses who might rather deny them.

What I didn't expect was that Mary Trudelle would be an excellent witness. I had known her only from the public documents that show her involvement in trying to defeat smoking bans in Canada. It's not that I expected her to wear horns exactly, but I might have thought she would be evasive or hostile, as were so many others who have stood in front of Justice Riordan. I was pleasantly surprised.

Mary Trudelle is young by standards of this trial (58 years old), and is very trim and petite. In a simple black pant-suit, she blended in well among the two dozen black-robed lawyers sitting on either side of the witness stand. Because she kept her gaze steadily on the judge, I could only see the back of her blond hair, but her voice and posture were calm and poised throughout the day. Not many women have testified at this trial, and her clear voice and pleasantly crisp manner of speaking left a strong aural impression.

Ms. Trudelle worked for RJR-Macdonald for 18 years. She started with the company as a junior product manager in 1982, with her Guelph University degree in applied science and an MBA. She worked her way up through the marketing ranks to product manager, group product manger, marketing manager and then director of strategic planning and research (1992). In 1994 she switched from marketing to public affairs, a job which required her to be on the CTMC Operations committee and worked in that area until her retirement in 1998. (RJR-Macdonald was among the assets purchased by Japan Tobacco in 1998). Although she consulted for the CTMC for a period of months after her retirement, she moved out of the tobacco business about a decade ago.

Message framing must be the better part of public relations, and Mary Trudelle demonstrated her framing talents throughout the day. While I had thought that her work with the CTMC was to delay or defeat smoking bans by mobilizing restauranteurs against them, for example, she described the task as developing a "relationship with members in the [hospitality] industry to see if we could assist them in coping with those bans." There is a reason such people are selected for such work!

Nonetheless, from the outset, she made obvious efforts to answer the questions with a clear "yes" or "no" in addition to providing her own understanding - and industry-friendly framing - of the issues.

Health effects: not an issue that they chose to speak about publicly

The morning was still young when Philippe Trudel got a much clearer answer to a question asked of most witnesses:

"What was the position of the company with respect to the risks associated with smoking?"
"The company acknowledged that there were risks associated with smoking. But they weren’t public about it. My recollection is that internally the company acknowledged there were risks based on the studies that had been done, but it was not an issue that they chose to speak about publicly." 

"What about the CTMC Ops committee?
"At the time I joined the Ops Committee in late 1994, the companies were of the view that issues concerning the risks associated with smoking were well known by the public and that their communication on those issues would not provide further information that would be useful to the smoker." 

She elaborated on the views of her company and the CTMC with respect to health risks, saying that the view was that any information given by the companies would be "additive" (by which she seemed to mean of no incremental effect) to the general knowledge. The position of her company on smoking and health issues, she agreed, was "consistent" with the policies of RJR International.

Marketing to youth

The man who had been president during some of Ms. Trudelle's time at RJR-Macdonald, Peter Hoult, had previously explained with some emphasis the company's policy of not marketing or researching people under the age of 18.

Ms. Trudelle was similarly definitive that there was no corporate interest in those under 18. "There were enough people who already smoked to allow us to pursue our business objectives. We didn’t need non smokers." (She didn't volunteer what would have happened to the company without some non-smokers coming into the market -- the 20 year old smokers when she joined the company in 1982 are now 50 years old).

Over the day, Mr. Trudel was able to show many ways that RJR managed to reach young people despite these policies:

Export A profile
of junior hockey star
Exhibit 771
Ignore the spill over:  The court has learned that publications, like Junior Hockey in which Export A was promoted, had a readership that was 85% adult and were thus not viewed as youth-oriented publications in which the company would not place ads. Mr. Trudel asked what happened when a publication was read by young people who might not be the measured subscriber. "Let us say as an example – Junior Hockey. I am the client, and I read it. And if I have 3 children, they would be secondary readers, right?"  Ms. Trudelle acknowledged that JR-Macdonald did not consider secondary readership in its media buys.

Get a third party to do the work. During the 1990s, Mary Trudelle was responsible for commissioning analyses from Paul Jacobson on Statistics Canada and Health Canada surveys. They wanted year by year estimates of starter smokers, age of onset. (see below)

Wait till they are 19, and then ask them.  In 1994, RJR-Macdonald conducted surveys with smokers 18-21 years of age, and asked them when they started and what brand they started with (and why) (Exhibit 859))

Call it a typo: When the mediacom provided data on viewership of posters for those over 13 years of age, Mary Trudelle corrected these "typos" and replaced the figure '13' with the figure '18'. (Exhibit 861861A) This echoes the company's policy of expunging references to people under 18 from corporate marketing records (Exhibit 656A656), and previous suggestions that research reports were edited to be consistent with policies on not marketing to youth.

Export A Smooth:  Either you like it or you don't

1997 Campaign for
 Export A Smooth
In the 1994 study of young smokers (Exhibit 859), RJR-Macdonald's researchers found "When young consumers first experiment with smoking they are prone to select a brand which they perceive as having an image which is: "mainstream, youthful" (Emphasis in the original)

This study concluded that RJR-Macdonald should:

1) Select a version of Export "A" that could be repositioned, not as a strength variant of the parent brand, but as a significantly different entry. This would be done by means of highly differentiated package design and sponsorship of relevant events and promotions.
2) Create a new brand which is youthful, but would be perceived as a mainstream alternative

Mr. Trudel asked Ms. Trudelle:  To your knowledge, was this advice followed by RJR-Macdonald?
"I don’t recall a line extension of Export A that was introduced on this basis," she replied.

Funny thing though - This RJR-Macdonald research recommendation fits with the redesign of Export A Smooth. When it was relaunched the year following this recommendation, it did indeed have a highly differentiated package design. The brand with its controversial ads, was the focus of the company's first ads after the Supreme Court ruling allowed tobacco promotions to return.

Using government surveys to measure starting rates among kids

Data on starters
In 1995, Mary Trudelle hired statistician Paul Jacobson to take a closer look at Statistics Canada surveys on smoking and provide some insight for the CTMC into young Canadians starting to smoke. (Although she was in charge of strategic planning for RJR-Macdonald, she testified that these studies were never shared with marketing staff). Today, she framed it as Mr. Jacobson "reformatting the data so we could understand it."

Ironically, she had some trouble understanding the reformatted presentation. (In fairness, it's a little hard to decipher -  Exhibit 865C).

Mr. Jacobson appears to have been no detached number-cruncher, but seemed willing to reformat the data to suti his clients' needs. After the tax roll-back of 1994, there were concerns that the lower prices would lead to increased youth smoking. Mr. Jacobson writes Mr. Trudelle to say “I am trying to build a case that the stats are not really that interesting because so many started during the high tax era. Can we talk tomorrow about your ideas on how to play this out.”  See also Exhibit 860860A860B ,860C865865A865B865C865D

Well, well. Omnibus surveys can be adjusted after all

A month ago, former RJR-Macdonald president, Peter Hoult,  had brushed aside an apparent contradiction between the company position on not researching youth and their purchase of custom questionnaires in the Youth Target study. He said it would be "enormously expensive" and would "fly in the face" of the omnibus approach to not collect data on the standard age groups of 15-17 year olds.

Today, Mr. Trudel asked Ms. Trudelle about her commissioning of questions from the Canada Health Monitor in 1994 which required adjustments to that omnibus survey's standard age breakdowns. She confirmed that "from what I recall we could ask them to do it,"  i.e. change age groups. And the cost - $22,000 - is not expensive in comparison to this trial! (Exhibit 862, 862A)

Wise decisions?

The moment in the day when Ms. Trudelle appeared somewhat uncomfortable was when she was presented with changes she requested of a proposed school-based program financed by the CTMC. In a memo to the consultants, Ms. Trudelle explains the editorial changes were because  "the potential effects of tobacco use are not black and white." Among the changes demanded are deletion references to smoking being “a choice that often has lifelong consequences" and that "discouraging experimentation at these ages should reduce the number of young smokers." (Exhibits  867867A)

Mary Trudelle will return for her second and presumed to be last day of testimony tomorrow, October 25th. 

To access trial documents linked to this site:

The documents are on the web-site maintained by the Plaintiff's lawyers. To access them, it is necessary to gain entry to the web-site. Fortunately, this is easy to do.

Step 1:
Click on: https://tobacco.asp.visard.ca

Step 2:
Click on the blue bar on the splash-page
"Acces direct a l'information/direct access to information" You will then be taken to the document data base.

Step 3:
Return to this blog - and click on any links.


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Day 74: "My mission was to restore profitability"

See note on accessing documents at the end of this post.

The second and last day of Mr. Patrick Fennell's testimony at the Montreal trial of the Quebec class action suits against tobacco companies was more fractious, but no less revealing than the first. 

Yesterday the questions had been directed by the the somewhat distant Gordon Kugler. Today the second round for the plaintiffs went to the more combative Bruce Johnston - and it was an uphill battle for him all day. Opposing counsel, judge and witness all contributed to a verbal obstacle course to his questions.

Mr. Fennell volunteered little about what he knew about the company or the industry during the period he headed Rothmans, Benson and Hedges (1985-1990). Nonetheless, he revealed much about the thinking of a    professional manager trying to satisfy tobacco shareholders while keeping health regulators at bay.

Managing public pressure 

Although all three of the big tobacco companies in Canada are now privately held by multinationals, two of them were publicly traded companies during Mr. Fennell's time at RBH. One of his jobs was to participate in the annual shareholders meetings and to field questions from shareholders, including those in the public health community who used the opportunity to challenge tobacco industry practices.

Records of some of these exchanges (Exhibit 847848  are like snapshots of the company's position at the time, as are briefing books prepared for the event (Exhibit 849).

Today, Mr. Fennell tried to distance himself and the company he once worked for from the statements they made on two of these meetings. He told the court that company chairman, Senator Kelly, was wrong to say "I guess I am not" to a question about being concerned about the rate of kids smoking and that Mr. Kelly was wrong to say that the position of the company was that "it hasn't been proven than smoking causes lung cancer."

As to why he had let the answers stand and had not corrected the record, he first testified that he didn't know, but then tried to shift the focus. "Have you ever met Mr. Sweanor?" he asked "In a disruptive situation, as this was, I felt that Senator Kelly was handling the situation as well as he could and my adding a comment would not help, so I withheld any comments." 

But on the fine distinctions that have been made about "cause," he fudged. Senator Kelly had told shareholders that the company was "still taking the position that it hasn't been proven that tobacco products cause lung cancer."  Today, Mr. Fennell said the position of the company in 1987 was "the one I stated at the legislative hearing," but didn't restate it. 

"Did you believe that it had been proven that tobacco products caused lung cancer?"
"At the time I believed that smoking could cause cancer with some people."
"And you thought this had been proven?"  "No I did not."

The NSRA had written Mr. Fennel to put the company on notice that it had not adequately warned customers about the harms of smoking, and to draw attention to a Globe and Mail story on teenagers' poor understanding of the health harms for smoking. (Exhibit 853)  No reply had been sent. Mr. Fennell explained "The NSRA did not have credibility with me, hence whatever they sent us was suspect, usually inflammatory."

Seeing the government as an adversary 

In 1985, a month before Mr. Fennell joined RBH, the corporate affairs department of Rothmans Benson and Hedges also prepared background material on sensitive issues (Exhibit 850). Mr. Fennell explained that he had never seen the document because he was too busy with "business decisions" to read "historic documents."

He did not refute the contents of the document, saying that at times they had seen the Health Ministry as adversaries. He confirmed the view in the paper that the industry did not agree that there was a causal relationship with disease. At first he explained that the reason the industry wanted the warnings attributed to the government was because "We believed that if the government was going to regulate us they also had to be responsible for attribution," but later confirmed that a reason they wanted them attributed was because they did not believe that the health warning statements were scientifically proven.  Health-Canada related exhibits:  851
  
And were those warnings necessary?

Mr. Fennell, like other witnesses, has been unable to answer questions about the magnitude of the risks of smoking, or the number of smokers who are harmed. His answers show his ability to simultaneously maintain  two apparently contradictory positions: 

"Can you give me your understanding of what the risks to a lifetime smoker were?"
"This is conjecture because I don’t have hard information. My mother smoked from the age of 15 to 95. That one example that the only one I have hard facts about. ... We chose never to talk about those numbers because it would confuse the government's message."

"You haven’t answered my message. What were the chances?"
"I don’t know."

"Ten percent? Ninety percent?"
"I don’t know. How can I know." 
"Did you think that was an important factor in an informed decision whether to smoke?"
"I think it is important to know. And smokers know it."
"But you don’t know it."
"They know it. They know that if they smoke for an extended period time there is a chance they will get sick and die."

All hang together or all hang separately: RBH and the CTMC

Over the past two days, Mr. Fennell emphasized the "highly competitive" relationship between tobacco companies. He explained that his concerns that the CTMC was being managed to the advantage of Imperial Tobacco was behind his decision to withdrawing RBH for a period from CTMC membership. (He said that their withdrawal was publicly announced, although he could not recall the dates and there appears to be little paper trail in newspaper archives). 

He confirmed that Mr. Bédard had been recruited by Imperial Tobacco to set up the Smokers' Freedom Society, and affirmed the misgivings he had shared at the CTMC about funding the organization. (Exhibit 60A). He also confirmed that the Four Seasons project was "in preparation in the event of a lawsuit in Canada."  CTMC-related exhibits: 854

Whatever happened to RBH's science files?

Although concerns about litigation have been linked to the destruction of scientific documents with Imperial Tobacco, Mr. Fennell could offer no insights as to why it is that the science records from Benson and Hedges are no longer in the files of the merged company, Rothmans, Benson and Hedges. His expressed the view that it would have been inappropriate to get rid of these files as "the optics of returning information to another party or destroying information or material implies you have something to hide."

No surprises, please

Mr. Potter takes umbrage when documents are shown to his witnesses that have not been previously circulated. Yet this witness showed the benefit of introducing new documents, as doing so can trigger changes in testimony.

One such document was a contract between Philip Morris International and Rothmans, Benson and Hedges, for services that included public relations materials "for use in presenting the position of the tobacco industry in Canada." (Exhibit 852)  Mr. Fennell had said that no contractual arrangement existed, but when  his memory 'refreshed' with this 'surprise' document, he acknowledged that RBH had paid 1% of its revenues to each of Philip Morris International and to Rothmans International for the "services we requested."

Is exaggerating health concerns to sell more cigarettes any better than denying them for the same reason?

Mr. Johnston returned to the advertisements that had been placed by Rothmans in the early 1950s that suggested an acceptance of the relationship between cigarette tar and cancer. Today Mr. Fennell said that he had never seen the advertisements until preparing for this testimony, but offered his explanation of the thinking behind them.

"At that time Rothmans was introducing or had introduced a filter. It was considered to be revolutionary and to help in the health of smoking cigarettes. I believe that the company in the early days was overstating the health concern and were being opportunistic because they were bringing out something that was going to help... This is more of a sales document that something that would help the health of consumers. To position this as anything else is an error."

The Cross Examination

It was not long after lunch that Mr. Johnston asked his last question and the opportunity for other parties was made available. 

Maurice Regnier, lawyer for the Attorney General, was the first to follow up. Yesterday, Mr. Fennell had testified that the industry agreement on expenditure ceilings on promotions was "part of a voluntary code, and the Government told us what we could spend and what share we could each have, and the share of it was dependent on our market share."

Mr. Regnier wanted to know whether Mr. Fennell could recall the federal government ever instructing the companies on the amount they could spend. The witness didn't seem to understand the question, but eventually acknowledged that the sum was established within the CTMC. (Exhibit 433E). If the voluntary code was an agreement with the government, did Mr. Fennell ask permission of the government before withdrawing from the CTMC and the code? "I am not sure. If so, it was by someone other than by myself. My guess is that it didn’t happen."

Restoring the company to health 

a decreasing market share
Exhibit 830
Mr. Potter's cross examination was a more measured event than his dramatic questioning of Mr. Cohen last week. His approach left me scratching my head a little - in focusing on the concern Mr. Fennell had for shareholders, he underscored the contrast with his lack of interest in the company's consumers. 

It may have been the first time that Mr. Fennell volunteered the use of the word "healthy".  

Mr. Fennell testified that the company had lost $30 million in the first year of his presidency. Without management action "we would be out of business and not one less tobacco product would be sold," he explained. He made drastic cuts and 1,500 jobs were shed, but the remaining 1,000 workers "had jobs – good jobs – well paid, well taken care of. They stayed because they were with a healthy company."

Mr. Potter led Mr. Fennell to testify that at the heart of the company's problem was the older age of its clients. Mr. Fennell explained that the average age of their customers was 48, while the average age of Imperial's customers was 33 and RJR-Macdonald was 40. Mr. Potter underscored that the financial crisis faced by RBH was that it was a failure at the task of getting a younger market. In defending his client, he touched on an issue that has been identified earlier: the key to long term success is young smokers.

At 4:10, Justice Riordan thanked Mr. Fennell and wished him well.  Mr. Fennell shook hands with the lawyers that had questioned him, and also with the (presumably) Philip Morris team that has been a recent presence. Exhibits related to business operations: 855858

The questions not ask-able. 

The statistics have not yet been gathered, but if there is a contest on the industry benches for who gets the most favourable decisions from Justice Riordan, Simon Potter appears to be winning. Today he scored a hat trick.

Win 1: After Mr. Potter's objection, Bruce Johnston was not permitted to ask Mr. Fennell whether he felt that it was appropriate to place advertisements in the magazine, Junior Hockey

Win 2: Mr. Potter was also able to block questions about a fight between Rothmans, Benson and Hedges and Imperial Tobacco over the marketing of "custom cut" semi-manufactured cigarettes. Because these marketing innovations were considered as fine-cut by tax officials, they were taxed at $25 less per carton than regular cigarettes and naturally enough were a game changer on the market. Imperial Tobacco's attempt to respond with a similar product was struck down by the Federal Court in 1991.
Patent for Custom Cut

 Justice Riordan, having once before ruled out questions on fine cut, and apparently unaware that these products were legally fine-cut but physically cigarette-like, ruled the question out of order. (It took a decade or more for tax departments to decide that these products should not have any tax advantage. When the tax rates were equalized, the products disappeared from the marketplace.) A marketing innovation to undermine the health benefits of tax policy has now been shielded from this trial.

Win 3: The last (unanswered) question of the day went to the heart of the case.

Mr. Fennell spoke with apparent pride of the challenge he  undertook to try to "save" RBH from imminent bankruptcy.  "My mission was to restore profitability. To deal with the difficult things that had to be done – reducing the number of people, changing the management, focusing on a new strategy, turning market share around."  He spoke of his personal and financial stake in the outcome. He did not receive a performance bonus for 4 years, and his pride was on the line. "If the market share did not turn around, it would have been for naught .... I would have been a total failure." (It is a well equipped courtroom, but there were no violins to cue). 

Yet Simon Potter's objection to the following question was maintained: "In your search for profitability, did you consider that lives were less important than profits?"

Tomorrow the trial reverts to witnesses from JTI/RJR-Macdonald with the testimony of Mary Trudelle, a former public relations official.

To access trial documents linked to this site:

The documents are on the web-site maintained by the Plaintiff's lawyers. To access them, it is necessary to gain entry to the web-site. Fortunately, this is easy to do.

Step 1: Click on: https://tobacco.asp.visard.ca

Step 2: Click on the blue bar on the splash-page

"Acces direct a l'information/direct access to information" 
You will then be taken to the document data base.

Step 3: Return to this blog - and click on any links.