Mr. Speaker, it is clear that steps must be taken to address the issue of tobacco smuggling in Canada. It is my opinion that the government can succeed in substantially reducing it, without rolling back tobacco taxes.
A multifaceted approach must be adopted that includes the reintroduction of the highly effective federal export tax, tougher enforcement measures, restrictions on the amount of tobacco that can be shipped to the United States, measures to prevent manufacturers from shifting production elsewhere in order to supply the contraband market, and increased pressure on the U.S. government to bring their cigarette prices into line with our own.
Relying on a tax rollback is a public health risk that will lead to increased health care costs as rates of consumption rise. The loss in tax revenues will further add to the deficit problems being faced by every level of government in the country.
I feel that the health of Canadians and the health of our economy must be primary considerations in developing a strategy to end tobacco smuggling.