OTTAWA, June 4, 2014 /CNW/ - The National Coalition Against Contraband
Tobacco (NCACT) is urging all parties to commit to strong measures to
combat Ontario's contraband tobacco problem. As all parties work to
balance the budget, addressing illegal cigarettes offers a
"low-hanging" fruit for government to recover tax dollars.
"There is more contraband tobacco in Ontario than any other province.
That's not a record we should be proud of. Illegal cigarettes are
readily available throughout the province, be it through one of
hundreds of illegal smoke shacks or directly from criminal contraband
dealers. A "baggie" of 200 illegal cigarettes can cost as little as $8,
more than $70 less than legal product." said Gary Grant; a 39 year
retired Toronto police officer and National Spokesperson for the NCACT.
"But over the last three years we have not seen any meaningful action
to address this problem from Queen's Park."
Contraband tobacco harms our communities by funding organized crime. In
fact, the RCMP estimates that there are about 175 criminal gangs in the
contraband trade, using it as a cash cow to finance their other illegal
activities, including guns, drugs and human smuggling. Contraband
tobacco is also a prime source for youth smoking. Illegal cigarettes
are cheap, easily accessible, and the criminals who sell them don't
check for ID.
"That illegal cigarettes fund organized crime and facilitate youth
smoking are reason enough for government to take action. But by
tackling contraband tobacco, Ontario can potentially recoup millions in
lost tax revenues," continued Grant. "The Canadian Taxpayers Federation
estimates that the illegal cigarette trade in Ontario costs governments
more than a billion dollars in lost revenues each year. That's money
that could be going to paying down the deficit, but instead lines the
pockets of criminals."
The NCACT sent a short questionnaire to all three party leaders to ask
how they will address contraband tobacco if elected. The NCACT only
received a response from the Liberal Party, which reiterated
commitments made in the budget which have up to now gone unfulfilled.
An attached fact sheet highlights commitments and actions from the
province over the course of the last legislature.
"Contraband tobacco is a major issue that affect all Ontarians"
concluded Grant. "It funds organized crime. It puts our children at
risk. It costs our government hundreds of millions of dollars. It is
important that we see action."
The NCACT will be hosting a media teleconference today at 10:00am EST.
To participate in the media teleconference, please dial:
Participant Local Dial in Number: 416-764-8688 / 613-627-2403
Participant Toll Free Dial in Number: 888-390-0546
Conference ID: 60112478
The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco is a Canadian advocacy
group formed by organizations and associations concerned about the
growing danger of contraband cigarettes. NCACT members share the goals
of working together to educate people and urge government to take quick
action to stop this growing threat.
The members of the NCACT are: Association des détaillants en
alimentation du Québec (ADA), Association des marchands dépanneurs et
épiciers du Québec (AMDEQ), Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian
Convenience Stores Association (CCSA), Canadian Manufacturers and
Exporters, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Canadian Tobacco
Manufacturers Council, Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ), Customs and
Immigration Union, Échec au crime Québec, Fédération des chambres de
commerce du Québec (FCCQ), Frontier Duty Free Association (FDFA),
National Convenience Stores Distributors Association (NACDA), Ontario
Chamber of Commerce, Retail Council of Canada, Toronto Crime Stoppers
and United Korean Commerce and Industry Association (UKCIA).
PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2014/06/04/20140604_C8405_DOC_EN_41075.pdf
SOURCE: National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT)
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