Tobacco Company Seeks Federal Government Bail-Out

    OTTAWA, June 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Bill C-32, An Act to Amend the Tobacco Act,
is currently being debated and will likely pass Second Reading in the House of
Commons shortly. By all indications, further to the discussion led in the
House yesterday, it would appear that the Bill will likely find little
obstacle within Parliament and effectively become law by the end of June. When
this happens, thousands of legitimate Canadian businesses and jobs will be
destroyed. As a result, Casa Cubana is immediately seeking a federal
government bail-out. This bail-out sought, however is not one which will cost
Canadians, but rather benefit them - by asking government not for money, but
rather honesty, integrity and accountability.
    While private sector stakeholders like Casa Cubana will continue to try
to properly educate and inform politicians on the issue, we remain quite
discouraged at the obvious notion that several politicians have since
demonstrated through their support of this Bill (yesterday) a gross lack of
knowledge about these products and understanding of effective tobacco control
policy, 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).
    While Casa Cubana has not lost complete hope that common sense may still
one day prevail in the House of Commons, it is at this time being forced to
consider its broader legal options. Should the bail-out sought not be
forthcoming, Casa Cubana will be considering seeking legal advice on the
possibility of bringing legal action against some politicians and anti-tobacco
groups for libel and defamation. Through an orchestrated hate and
misinformation campaign against an otherwise legitimate and legal Canadian
company, these individuals and organizations will have since secured
unjustified proposed legislation that will have a direct and devastating
financial impact on thousands of legitimate Canadian business owners across
the country. Casa Cubana now challenges these outspoken politicians to
effectively step outside the secured, absolute-privileged parameters of the
House of Commons and reiterate the offensive statements and unsupported
allegations they have since made (yesterday) about these products and the
companies that manufacture and distribute them.
    Casa Cubana will also consider seeking a legal opinion on a possible
anti-trust legal action against the government, which through Bill C-32, is
effectively proposing to arbitrarily ban our legitimate tobacco products in
favor of those manufactured and distributed by our competitors. In this sense,
the government's Bill, if it were to become law, would knowingly and simply
just shift Casa Cubana's legal tobacco sales to (1) criminal groups currently
involved in the contraband version of these flavoured products; (2) legal
Native manufacturers currently producing flavoured little cigars/cigarillos
and (3) other legal domestic tobacco companies selling alternative tobacco
products. To think that Bill C-32 will reduce or eliminate tobacco consumption
- especially among youth - is unsupported by longstanding conventional wisdom
on tobacco control; Health Canada's own research on prohibition/minors'
access, and the current relevant market context (contraband tobacco).
    Casa Cubana's frustration with what is tantamount to hate, not health
legislation and Health Canada's significant breach of mandate, is increasingly
being expressed by other business owners across Canada. Although not prone to
civil disobedience, otherwise honest, hard-working, tax-paying and law-abiding
Canadians have since felt compelled to take a very public and dangerous stance
against Bill C-32. Some retailers in Alberta have since publicly stated that
should Bill C-32 become law, that they would not be complying with it. Their
initiative will have since found growing support among retailers and
tobacconists in Nova Scotia and Québec. The fact that these Canadians feel
they have no other choice but to resort to civil disobedience will hopefully
give the government additional cause for review and further consideration.

    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)

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Casa Cubana

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