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Word from the president

« Correctness, when we’reat your mercy »

Our members remember the bittersweet effects of the Tobacco Act that came into play on May 31, 2006 and was adopted in order to protect the collective health of Quebecers.

Before the enforcement of this law, several speakers (including CPBBTQ) had the opportunity to express their concerns about the impact of its adoption and implementation especially because, for many of us, the smokers who were targeted by it constituted a large part of our clientele.

Obviously, public health has prevailed and the industry has collaborated on this worthy and inevitable effort.

Following the proposals presented to the legislature, a compromise on retaining the right to smoke on the terraces outside our establishments was reached, which – in principle – would help mitigate the effects of the law during the difficult economic times to come, resulting from its adoption.

Encouraged by this principle and Ministry claims that the enforcement of the law would foster NEW CLIENTELE who previously did not frequent our businesses, we have waited for this mass of new customers and hoped they would manifest themselves as quickly as possible.

As predicted by those that did not believe in the sudden appearance of these new customers, the industry has suffered a backlash from the application of this law, seeing a general decline in its net annual turnover (on average from 10 to 12% on sales of alcohol and 17% on VLT) over a period of 12 to 16 months following the entry of the law. In my case, the decrease in turnover was 25%.

The supposed “new customers” willing to return to our institutions or begin regularly frequenting them because of the new law, we must admit, have not manifested themselves in mass.

Convinced that owners of bars, pubs and taverns in Quebec are currently living prosperously in this economic climate, the tobacco lobby continues its tireless work and now intends on asking the Quebec legislature to ban smoking on the exterior terraces of our establishments, which they believe would greatly help our businesses in general (?).

Maybe this time (and only after a few years delay), the new clientele promised in 2006 by the Minister of Health willfinally manifest itself?

We believe that excessive correctness has no purpose and does not have any effect on the health of Quebecers.

Once more, the turnover of our businesses will suffer, and this at a time when the industry is experiencing a difficult economic period already, one that it has felt since 2007. Indeed, we have suffered a significant decline in our customers (and are still suffering for that matter) mainly because of the arrival of the Tobacco Act and reduced commission rates related to the operation of VLTs.

Maybe a little magic will bring new customers, but you will have to forgive us for doubting it … since we have been expecting it since 2006! All experts who predicted the occurrence of this phenomenon were wrong. Their arguments in 2006 were intended to give them a good conscience and blind us.

We believe that these gatekeepers of correctness would benefit from a battle on another front if they hope to even­tually see the distant end of smoking. They should instead focus on ways to ERADICATE SMUGGLING of tobacco products.

This phenomenon is perpetuated under the nose of our government and gives free access to smuggled goods toanyone who travels into a territory or a native reserve in our beautiful province to get them – to the detriment of owners authorized to sell these products in Quebec.

Our thought would not be complete without adding that terraces at our establishments are not functional 12 months per year and are mostly – obviously – situated outside.

We are forced to notice that soon, smoking outdoors will be forbidden altogether.

Although the health of Quebecers is a very legitimate concern, perhaps the resources in place to improve it shouldinclude, once and for all, resolute political action.

Mr Jean Jacques BeauchampJanuary 31, 2011

Par: admin

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