Flaherty Budget: Food distributors denounce the inaction of the Harper Government regarding tobacco smuggling.

    MONTREAL, Oct. 31 /CNW Telbec/ - Further to the budget project announced
yesterday by the Minister of Finance, Mr. Jim Flaherty, the National
Convenience Store Distributors Association (NACDA) denounces the lack of will
of the Harper Government to implement a strategy to fight against tobacco
    Tobacco smuggling is showing an unequalled increase in activity in
Canada. Further to a study published in July 2007 by the Canadian Tobacco
Manufacturers Council (CTMC), of which NACDA has obtained a copy, nearly one
cigarette in four bought in Canada in 2007 is illegal, compared to 16% in
2006. These numbers are as high as 30% in Quebec (22% in 2006) and 32% in
Ontario (23% in 2006). The annual loss for the Canadian Government is
estimated to be approx. 1.6 billion $.
    "This alarming data is the direct consequence of the inaction displayed
by the federal government as it relates to tobacco smuggling. Furthermore, the
Hon. Minister Flaherty announced yesterday an increase in the excise tax on
tobacco products. Everyone knows however that an increase in taxes generates
an increase in tobacco smuggling," said Mr. Marc Fortin, President of NACDA.
    Moreover, let's not forget that, in his last speech from the Throne, the
Prime Minister has said quite openly that he intends to fight crime. "If this
is a real priority for the Government, then there seems to be a contradiction
between the Prime Minister's speech and the measures taken by his Minister of
Finance", said Mr. Fortin.

    Founded in 1955, the National Convenience Stores Distributors
Association, better known as NACDA, represents the interests of independent
and institutional distributor-wholesalers in Canada who serve the convenience
and grocery store market. Most of these companies are family-owned businesses,
some of which have been in operation for more than 100 years, that deliver
products, including tobacco products, throughout Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Media Relations: Isabelle Fafard, (514)
865-8157, www.nacda.ca

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