MONTREAL, March 13, 2008 – Imperial Tobacco Canada is disappointed that a senior partner in the tobacco industry, the Government of New Brunswick, has decided to move forward with legal action that is simply a cash grab and not in the interest of New Brunswick taxpayers.
“Governments are senior partners in the tobacco industry. Governments in Canada earn from tobacco 18 times the profits of the entire tobacco industry, they heavily regulate the industry and have been fully aware of the risks associated with tobacco products for decades,” said Benjamin Kemball, president and CEO of Imperial Tobacco Canada. “It is hypocritical that governments, like New Brunswick, turn around and sue a legal industry that they oversee and license while allowing an illegal tobacco industry to flourish.”
Governments across Canada collect approximately $8 billion in taxes from the tobacco industry; the province of New Brunswick collects over $80 million a year.
Imperial Tobacco Canada believes that this lawsuit will take years to be resolved and will cost the New Brunswick taxpayers millions of dollars. A similar action in British Columbia has been ongoing for almost ten years. It has cost BC well over $20 million and it is still not over.
“This lawsuit is a waste of taxpayers’ money and will never result in the monetary windfall the New Brunswick government hopes for,” said Mr. Kemball. “Under this arrangement, the only real winners here will be the lawyers, including the US two plaintiffs law firms leading the invasion presumably to introduce the ‘jackpot justice’ rampant in the United States.”
In the very unlikely scenario that any of the provincial governments prevail, there is no hidden vault of money for settlements. The claims will run into the billions of dollars for just one province. This is more than the profits of the entire tobacco industry.
- Mar 13- New Brunswick's lawsuit has nothing to do with public health (16 kb)