SBD/Issue 232/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Canadian Gov't Says It Won't Exempt F1 From Tobacco Law

Chretien Refutes Reports
Of Loophole Searching

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien's office "dismissed reports that Ottawa is considering a loophole in the legislation to please" Canadian Grand Prix organizers after Formula One Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone said that the event "won't be held next year unless he received a permanent exemption from a law banning cigarette ads and sponsorship," according to the CP. Chretien spokesperson Steven Hogue: "The government has no intention whatsoever of amending the law." Under a proposal from Immigration Minister Denis Coderre, the government "could exempt foreign tobacco companies from the law in exchange for anti-cigarette billboards placed around the track," but Alex Swann, spokesperson for Health Minister Anne McLellan said, "The minister is not considering any changes to the law that would weaken it." The government will "continue working on its original plan, trying to persuade Ecclestone and individual team officials to forgo lucrative tobacco ads" for the race. Justice Minister Martin Cauchon also "threw cold water on speculation the federal government could reimburse teams that suffer a revenue shortfall from tobacco ads." Cauchon: "I don't think the Canadian government will be putting up cash" (CP, 8/26).

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