Imperial Tobacco Canada to governments: Do your job and stop illegal tobacco sales

Imperial Tobacco Canada today stated
that Canada has lost its leadership in tobacco control because the provincial
and federal governments have, for too long, ignored the growing crisis of
illegal tobacco sales.
In a speech delivered today at the Economic Club of Canada, Benjamin J.
Kemball, President and Chief Executive Officer of Imperial Tobacco Canada
said, “Despite supposedly world renowned tobacco control policies, over one
third of the Canadian tobacco industry has been handed over to an illegal,
unregulated, un-enforced and un-taxed free for all and tobacco control is
collapsing around us.”
Imperial Tobacco Canada believes that something should and can be done
now. “Let’s get someone in charge – a senior government official would be a
good start. Let’s get the laws enforced. Let’s control the supply of raw
material and machinery. Let’s get taxes applied, including perhaps a revenue
sharing agreement on a First Nations tax, equivalent to the Provincial Tobacco
Tax,” said Mr. Kemball. “This would facilitate tobacco control across Canada,
including the reserves that could benefit from the proceeds of this tax. Let’s
bring everyone involved to the table, from the health authorities to the First
Nation communities.”
“The irony is that the tobacco industry is not alone in this call.
Community groups, retailers, business groups, health groups are also calling
for government action,” added Mr. Kemball. “It is not everyday that you get
tobacco companies and health groups asking for the same thing. When you do,
isn’t it time to listen?”
Illegal tobacco represents over 30 percent of cigarettes purchased in
Canada. This number reaches 40 percent in Quebec and 48 percent in Ontario. In
2008, the federal and provincial governments together lost approximately $2.4
billion in taxes. In December, the Ontario Auditor General reported that the
estimated tax loss for Ontario in 2006-2007 was $500 million; and we believe
it could be double that today. The Government of Quebec lost approximately
$300 million in 2008.

Further information on Imperial Tobacco Canada is available on the
Internet at:

For further information: Eric Gagnon, Manager, External Communications,
(514) 932-6161, ext. 2113

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