MONTREAL, March 11, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - A rising number of retailers across the province have been emailing and faxing signed Petitions to Premier Wynne - demanding a say on proposed legislation that directly impact their lives and livelihoods. They are essentially demanding from their elected officials - integrity, respect and accountability.
With Government Bill 131(Youth Smoking Prevention Act, 2013) and Private Member Bill 149 (Health Statute Law Amendment Act (Healthy Decisions Made Easy), 2014) - the government of Ontario is setting a very dangerous precedent by endeavouring to essentially legislate lies into laws, says Luc Martial, VP Government Affairs at Casa Cubana.
On the issue of flavoured tobacco products, the government of Ontario has been finger-pointing legitimate business owners across the province as people who target, depend on and profit from the sale of tobacco products to kids. These Bills, which greatly question their business ethics, threaten their investments, undermine their rights and undermine their customers' rights - were introduced and have been progressing through the Legislative Assembly largely without their knowledge or encouraged involvement.
These business owners are hoping that their call for honesty and fair play in government will find further support from their local MPPs.
Over the last few weeks, hundreds of Petitions have been flooding in from business owners in the following towns/cities:
Alma, Athens , Barrie, Bradford, Brampton, Bell River, Belleville, Blind River, Blue Mountains, Bolton, Burlington, Cambridge, Chatham, Clifford, Collingwood, Cornwall, Erin, Etobicoke, Fergus, Fordwich, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, LaSalle, Lindsay, London, Markham, Meaford, Mississauga, Monkland, Napanee, Naughton, Newmarket, Niagara Falls, Oakville, Orleans, Orno, Ottawa, Oshawa, Owen Sound, Peterborough, Picton, Port Hope, Sault Ste. Marie, Scarborough, Stayner, Stoney Creek, Sudbury, Tecumseh, Tilbury, Toronto, Uxbridge, Walkerton, Windsor, Wingham and Woodstock.
THEIR MESSAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT:
"Bottom line - we were never given a chance to be heard on this issue. Never given a chance to fairly defend our legitimate rights as business owners and individuals. We were just finger-pointed by your government as people who sell flavoured tobacco products aimed at kids and are now consequently being steam-rolled into having to accept this proposed law. But the truth about these products doesn't support your contentions and we can assure you that the market for flavoured tobacco products is a legal-age-verified one. We do not sell tobacco to kids; do not condone those who do - and frankly, we find your government's insinuation quite offensive. Your government's actions to date sends a clear message - that our opinion doesn't matter, the truth doesn't matter, the government doesn't care about our rights and it will take what it wants, when it wants and how it wants. That's called harassment, it is deplorable, it is demoralizing - and it needs to stop.
Premier Wynne, we put our own money on the table every day, create our own jobs and jobs for others - and we obey the law. We conduct ourselves with the utmost integrity and must insist on a government that respects our rights and values our contribution to the economy. Arbitrarily moving forward with the banning of what we know to be legitimate, legal-age driven products - doesn't sit well with us at all. If your government proceeds with this unjustified and unwarranted law - and more importantly, if it proceeds without allowing us a fair opportunity to defend our legitimate rights on this or any other issue - we will remember this at election time. All we are respectfully asking you for is honest and open public consultation on this matter - before the government goes too far."
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE HEARD?
What we are witnessing here is a growing wave of disappointment, discontentment and anger among otherwise hardworking, law-abiding and tax-paying individuals. These business owners have every right to be outraged at the lies being told about them and the legitimate products they sell - and the government's apparent unwillingness to acknowledge the truth and remedy their mistake, says Luc Martial, VP Government Affairs at Casa Cubana.
What the government is saying about flavoured tobacco products and the actual truth of the matter - are two very different things. Hopefully the government will understand and appreciate that legitimate business owners across the province cannot (and will not) just sit still while such an obvious abuse of public trust and authority persists.
ACCORDING TO HEALTH CANADA:
|-|| Flavoured tobacco products are a legal-age-verified driven market.
|-|| There are approximately 800,000 legal-age consumers of little cigar products in Canada (flavoured and unflavoured).
|-|| 94% of the market for flavoured little cigar products is adult-driven - and the majority of consumers are over the age of 25.
|-|| Kids/minors get their illegal access to (all) tobacco products - overwhelmingly from friends and family members (75%). Youth smoking and uptake is clearly a product "access" issue not a product "design" one (i.e. flavours).
|-|| Flavours in tobacco products are not the reason why kids start smoking or become smokers. If kids are not already smokers, there is almost zero chance that they will "try" a flavoured tobacco product.
|-||Of those kids who do "try" a flavoured tobacco product, the flavour of choice is by far MENTHOL - *the one flavour that both Bills 131 and 149 propose exempting from a ban. There exists absolutely no government research/data on what other flavour(s) kids might be "trying".|
Sources: Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey 2012 (Health Canada); Youth Smoking Survey 2010-2011 (Health Canada).
Casa Cubana is a Montreal-based importer of quality cigar products (flavoured and unflavoured). 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. In Ontario, the company distributes its products through more than 2,000 licenced retail/wholesale provincial partners.
SOURCE: Casa Cubana
For further information:
VP Government Affairs
Cell: (819) 743-9140