The big Tobacco Companies raised their tobacco product prices twice over the last two years. Is it just a coincidence that the extra profits raked in adds up to more than the fines imposed? Why does the punishment not fit the crime? Why did the criminal tobacco company exectives that masterminded the plot walk free but the tobacco farmers and their communites are the only ones who are going to suffer the penalties? What if this does not satisfy the debt to banks? WHY are the hundreds of social, civic and legal rights groups hiding their heads in the sand on this undervalued lawsuit and two tiered injustice carried out?
After three years of MP Diane Finley stating she is working hard on the tobacco file exit plan for tobacco farmers comes months of the absolute "NO" word for a buyout! Then out of the blue came the announcement, go to the Delhi Tobacco Auction Centre, Agriculture Minister and other MP's will make an announcement (Aug. 01/08) to tobacco farmers. Federal Minister Ritz stated that part of the court fine imposed would be used as the federal protion of a qouta buyout. With the provincial portion this would make a payment of $1.74 total. "No strings attached!"? With the ooh's, aah's, no's and boo's tobacco farmers felt the insulting stinging slap across their face.
The Federal government has had individual private meetings with the Tobacco Companies on the tobacco file during the past two years while their lawsuit was in the courts. Is this legal or ethical? My hypothetical question is this, could a person think that $10 billion dollars may have changed hands under a boardroom table in private meetings? The court could have levied a $2 billion dollar higher fine on the tobacco companies. The feds could have given tobacco farmers a decent honourable exit plan of one billion dollars. One billion dollars could have went to the province of Ontario as compensation.
When Diane Finley was running in the last election, people were extolling her virtues. After she got elected, it was always, I am working hard on the tobacco file. Two seconds later she told farmers they had to serve their customers needs (tobacco companies). This is the last election that I will vote on. The old expression "If you do not vote, you get the government you deserve". I vote in every election but this is not the government treatment I as a Canadian Farmer needs or my community deserves. If the Haldimand-Norfolk PC Constituency Association thinks or agrees with this unjustifiable kind of two tier justice of treating criminals better than its follow citizens, then they can go to hell! Unlike the lucky tobacco companies, my famlies life and lots of others will never be normal again thanks to Daine Finley's failure to perform! With this punitive arbitrary payment, Diane Finley let the tobacco communities down. I am disapointed in her leadership as a cabinet Minister of Canada!
John E. Cowan,
R. R. # 1 Vittoria,
Ont. N0E 1W0
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