OTTAWA, June 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq's May 26th
announcement that the Conservative Government would make good on an electoral
promise to ban flavours in tobacco products, has proven to be the perfect
example of the current government's gross mismanagement of a very important
public health file.
As the government journeys dangerously closer towards formalizing Bill
C-32 (An Act to Amend the Tobacco Act) into law, Casa Cubana is once again
calling on all Parliamentarians and the media to consider the very serious
implications of legislating any issue on a premise of fear, not fact - hate,
not health. The current market environments in our country are such that Bill
C-32 will only come to destroy thousands of legitimate Canadian businesses and
jobs, while further fueling the criminal networks involved in tobacco, drugs
and weapons trafficking. There is only a "perceived" health benefit to banning
flavoured tobacco products in Canada, says Luc Martial (in charge of
government affairs with Casa Cubana and formerly with the Non-Smokers' Rights
Association, the Canadian Council on Smoking and Health, the National
Clearinghouse on Tobacco and Health, and the Tobacco Control Programme at
Health Canada). Bill C-32 is perilously leveraged on this misguided perception
and our country will in the end only come to be hurt by the government's gross
negligence on this file, says Mr. Martial.
Casa Cubana testified before the Standing Committee on Health last
Thursday and brought these issues (e.g. lack of research and consultation) to
the forefront. We were quite surprised by the lack of interest among Committee
Members, further to Health Canada subsequently conceding that it had not done
any specific research on these products, their market or the industry. We were
further surprised at the lack of concern expressed by these Parliamentarians
regarding Health Canada's further concession that they did not consult in any
meaningful way with the thousands of Canadian businesses who will be directly
impacted (if not devastated) by Bill C-32.
Despite some politicians and even the Prime Minister of Canada suggesting
that this is such an important health issue for Canadians and Canadian
children, the very clear facts about Bill C-32 remain that:
1. Health Canada chose not to undertake specific research on the use of
flavours in tobacco products; the market for flavoured little
cigars/cigarillos and the industry itself - although the department
had more than ample time, opportunity and resources to do so.
2. The Health Minister chose not to mandate Health Canada to do this
research, in support of the Prime Minister's Electoral Promise -
although the Minister had more than ample time, opportunity and
resources to do so.
3. The Government chose not to consult in an honest, meaningful,
transparent and open manner with the thousands of legitimate private
sector stakeholders whose businesses and jobs will be devastated by
Bill C-32 - although it had more than ample time, opportunity and
resources to do so.
4. The Government chose not to engage the RCMP, Justice, Finance and the
Canadian Border Services Agency (their partners in tobacco control)
in necessary discussions related to Bill C-32 (i.e. threat of contrab
and flavoured products flooding the market; indirect funding of
criminal networks in Canada; loss of legitimate government revenues
and Canadian jobs; etc.) - although it had more than ample time,
opportunity and resources to do so.
How is it that these significant lapses in procedural due diligence have
not been denounced as unacceptable or even reprehensible by any Member of
Parliament or the media?
Consequently, if Bill C-32 becomes law, Canadians and Canadian businesses
will find themselves having no other choice but to break the law or bring
their government to Court in order to find accountability and justice.
Casa Cubana is a Montreal-based importer of quality cigar products.
Established in 1998, the company's reach extends throughout Canada with a
sales force servicing approximately 10,000+ direct accounts - to include
wholesalers, retail chains, independent retailers, gas bars, grocery stores
and the duty-free channel. Since 2003, the company has imported and
distributed a variety of flavored cigarillos, to become a relevant and
knowledgeable stakeholder in this marketplace.
For further information:
For further information: Luc Martial, (819) 682-2352, Cell: (819)