Why has McGuinty allowed 60,000 children to get hooked on illegal tobacco?

For Immediate Release:
April 29, 2010

Queen’s Park – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett caused quite a stir in the Ontario Legislature today when he asked how the government could allow 60,000 students to get hooked on illegal tobacco.

Barrett cited a study from Ontario’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – an organization that has been surveying the student use of addictive substances since 1968 – that reports 60,000 students in Ontario now smoke contraband tobacco, as do half the smokers in the province.

“Those 60,000 young people are now part of a criminal network that supplies cigarettes at $15 a carton, tax free, as opposed to the regular $60 to $80 a carton,” Barrett said. “This is unprecedented. Nowhere else in the world does this occur.

“Sixty-thousand students buying illicit tobacco from the trunk of a car, no tax, no ‘ID’ requested; access to anything money can buy, drugs or guns. Nowhere else in the world has government lost control of half the tobacco market,” Barrett continued. “Is this political correctness in the extreme? What are you people afraid of?”

Barrett’s comments drew a great deal of criticism and heckling from the government side of the House. And although the question was asked of the Premier, Mr. McGuinty referred it to the Minister of Revenue who did not answer the question but rather boasted about his government’s efforts.

“It’s very difficult to believe this government is taking any action on contraband smokes when the numbers just keep going up,” Barrett said following Question Period. “The McGuinty plan is not working and they should go back to the drawing board.”

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For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at
(519) 428-0446 or (905)-765-8413, 1-800-903-8629