C-stores Owners Welcome Ottawa's New Measures Against Contraband Tobacco

MONTREAL, May 28 /CNW Telbec/ - In the midst of a Canada-wide campaign to rally Members of Parliament and have them commit to reducing contraband tobacco to 10% in 2010, the Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) has reacted positively today to the federal government's announcement of new measures and funding aimed at fighting the scourge of contraband tobacco.

'The concrete measures announced today are in line with our demands and we are quite happy about it,' said Michel Gadbois, Senior Vice-President of the CCSA.'The federal government is making specific and concrete moves to enforce the law, ensure border integrity and raise awareness of the issue among consumers, one of our association's key recommendations.'

It was in April 2009, before members of the convenience stores industry, that former National Revenue Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn made the commitment to launch a federal advertising campaign to fight contraband tobacco, which the CCSA was demanding. In a Léger Marketing poll conducted on its behalf in 2008, the CCSA found that a strong majority of 64% of Quebeckers and 75% of Ontarians perceived the purchase of contraband tobacco on native reserves, without payment of taxes, to be a legal act.

'An advertising campaign will be useful and relevant in reminding smokers and those around them that buying or consuming contraband tobacco is an illegal act that creates an enormous number of harmful consequences for the community and for youth, particularly by financing organized crime,' added Gadbois.

The CCSA is pleased to note that the arrival of Minister Vic Toews at the helm of Public Safety, as well as that of Minister Keith Ashfield to National Revenue, seems to bode well. 'Just a few months after taking up their positions, the two ministers did what was necessary to release these announcements and move forward. It's entirely to their credit and we want to stress this,' said Gadbois.

'Convenience store businesses are an important part of communities. They pay their taxes, they follow the rules and they pride themselves as responsible community retailers. This issue will decide whether they can continue to support their families or face bankruptcy', added Gadbois. 'We hope these new measures from the federal government will also spur the Ontario government, which has done little, into action. Specifically we believe Ontario needs to follow Quebec's lead do things like empower provincial and municipal law enforcement authorities.'

The reasons behind contraband tobacco remain deep-seated, and the next few months will show the real impact of the announced measures. 'We will continue to judge the tree by its fruits by carrying out butt studies. If the announced measures miss the target, more must be done, even if it means draconian solutions, because, as a society, we can't go on this way. We can't tolerate contraband tobacco anymore,' Mr. Gadbois concluded.

SOURCE Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA)

For further information: For further information: Guy Leroux, Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA), Cell.: (866) 511-2481, gleroux@acda-aqda.ca; 10-2010 campaign website: www.10-2010contrabandobjective.com

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