OTTAWA – New Democrat Revenue Critic Carol Hughes (Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing) today condemned Revenue Canada’s tax breaks to GVA, a company that imports and distributes flavoured tobacco products, which owes $20 million in excise tax. Hughes is also asking why CRA is considering writing off a substantial portion of GVA’s debt. To make matters worse, GVA used the money they saved to lower the price of their deadly product.

“Complacency toward industries that kill people, like the tobacco industry, has no place in our society,” stated Hughes. “Given our budget situation, can we afford to turn down $20 million? No.

“Is it fair to let the tobacco industry off the hook and not pay the excise tax? No!”

Today Hughes asked the Minister of Revenue in Question Period to explain the decision, rectify the situation and conduct a comprehensive review to determine whether any other companies are in the same position.

“The Canada Revenue Agency should be setting an example, but instead it’s in cahoots with the tobacco industry,” Ms. Hughes said. “When people don’t pay their taxes, the Agency doesn’t give them a break. On the contrary, they’re slapped with penalties. Are all Canadians going to get the same treatment as GVA this year?”

The recently fiasco over new tobacco product labelling has shown the influence the tobacco lobby has in Ottawa. “Fortunately there is organizations out there like the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control that counterbalance this industrial giant that seems to have no interest in complying with our laws,” Hughes concluded.