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Convenience store owners conduct awareness campaign

The Toronto-based Ontario Korean Businessmen's Association has begun a radio advertising campaign intended to raise public awareness of the effect of certain government policies on the owners of independent Ontario convenience stores. According to the group, increases in tobacco taxes will result in store owners going out of business.

The advertising is airing on radio stations in Ottawa, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo and London. The 30-second commercial presents an immigrant store owner and his wife describing their efforts to run a business in Canada. The campaign is part of a larger initiative that began last summer, which focuses on issues such as contraband tobacco, the minimum wage, electricity rates, bureaucracy and alcohol sales.

"We need people to understand that every time government raises tobacco taxes, the only group that benefits is the organized crime groups that traffic contraband tobacco," said Don Cha, general manager of the association. "We are pleading with the provincial government to reconsider their planned four dollar tax to be introduced in this year's budget. If they go ahead, more of our stores will close and more smokers will start purchasing untaxed and unregulated tobacco from criminals."

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