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CITT 2005 – IBRC Responds

October 30, 2005 – The comments by Mr. Dutil, President of Procycle Group, in an interview with Dan Dakin as posted at pedalmag.com on Oct. 19 are incorrect and misleading. His views show a lack of respect for the impact the CITT 30% recommended surtax will have on Canada’s cyclists and independent bicycle retailers across Canada.

As an independent businessman and member of the Independent Bicycle Retailers of Canada (IBRC), I resent Mr. Dutil’s implication that we are “pawns” responding to pressure by Canadian importers. Since the CITT announced their recommendation, over 300 dealers representing 3,200 employees across Canada have united in opposing this surtax on fairly traded bicycles.

Does Mr. Dutil suggest over 300 independent businessmen have it wrong and that we can not think for ourselves?

It should also be noted that other Canadian manufacturers/assemblers including Norco, Devinci, Cervelo, and Opus (Outdoor Gear Canada) have stated their opposition to the surtax, citing harm to the industry.

Does Mr. Dutil suggest these manufacturers also have it wrong?

What is wrong is that Procycle and Raleigh are not more focused on producing better value added bicycles. Other Canadian manufactures are doing just that, successfully. Yet, despite 15 years of trade protection, Procycle and Raleigh continue to suffer as they focus on selling low priced bicycles to mass merchants like Wal Mart and Canadian Tire.

Mr. Dutil, points to Procycle’s Rocky Mountain brand in response. However, since the CITT investigation attempted to deal only with mass merchant bikes below $400 retail your readers need to know this issue has nothing do with Rocky Mountain. Therefore, Mr. Dutil adding Rocky Mountain to this debate is nothing more than an attempt to confuse your readers.

Mr. Dutil continues in his attempts to confuse when he says the CITT “made a recommendation to help the independent bicycle dealers against the mass merchants”. Firstly, independent bicycle dealers are not in any dispute with the mass merchants and secondly, it was Mr. Dutil and Raleigh that went (yet again) to the CITT for help. That Mr. Dutil would stoop to utter such nonsense is spurious.

The issue is that the CITT recommendation, while focused on mass bikes, actually increases the cost of all imported bikes (including kids) priced below approx $650 in the independent dealer channel. This will cause sales to drop and jobs and business will be lost. There will also be additional negative impacts to health and the environment as the increased cost of bicycles will cause participation levels to fall.

That Mr. Dutil says that all dealers in Canada need do to avoid a price increase is to buy his Miele bikes is particularly telling. How would cyclists benefit by having only one brand to choose from?

It is for these reasons that Mr. Dutil finds himself aligned against over 300 independent bicycle dealers, other Canadian bicycle manufacturers, the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada, Canadian municipalities and thousands of cyclists that oppose the proposed surtax.

Your readers should know that in response to the legitimate concerns of the industry and Canadian cyclists, Mr. Dutil has hired a powerful Ottawa lobby firm, Earnscliffe Strategy Group. This firm includes former Liberal cabinet ministers, the former Chairman of the Liberal Party leadership campaign, and other former Liberal Party insiders including senior advisors to the Hon. Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Clearly, Mr. Dutil is pulling out all the stops in attempting to railroad his interest over a groundswell of opposition.

We therefore urge all cyclists to contact their Members of Parliament to ensure that the Government makes a decision that respects the interests of all parties.

Yours truly,
Via e-mail

Michael Theil
BSP Bicycle Sports Pacific Inc.
and for and on behalf of IBRC

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