WINNIPEG, June 12, 2012 /CNW/ - The Western Convenience Stores
Association (WCSA) today commended the Government of Manitoba for
protecting the public and especially minors by shutting down a smoke
shack selling illegal, contraband cigarettes, and taking steps to allow
themselves to quickly shut down any smoke shacks in the future.
"We're pleased that the government has taken swift action to shut down
the Dakota Chundee smoke shack," said Andrew Klukas, President of the
WCSA. "And through the proposed Budget changes, they'll be able to move
even faster against these smoke shacks that flout the law. This is
critical as the spread of contraband cigarettes creates health and
safety risks for the public, and hurts small-business,
convenience-store employers, who operate lawfully and responsibly."
After taking the Dakota Chundee smoke shack to court the Manitoba
Government was granted an interim injunction ordering the smoke shack
to close. This was followed up by introducing provisions in the Budget
to allow the province to shut down these illegal operations under the
Tobacco Tax Act, without requiring a court order. This will let the
province act quickly in any future cases.
"A major concern with illegal smokes shacks is that the
illegally-manufactured cigarettes, at half the price of legal
cigarettes, are far more accessible to youth" Klukas said. "It creates
safety risks for the public because of its association with organized
crime, and deprives the government of revenue from lawful tobacco
In the past two years across Canada, 2,300 convenience stores have
closed their doors due in large part to the increased use of contraband
tobacco. With some of the highest tobacco taxes in Canada, Manitoba and
the Prairie Provinces are a prime breeding ground for illicit tobacco
markets. In eastern Canada, there are more than 300 illegal smoke
shacks and 50 illegal manufacturers looking for opportunities to expand
into the west.
"That's why it's so important that Manitoba has moved decisively to shut
down this smoke shack and any others. Allowing them to remain open
would have sent the signal that Manitoba is fair game for contraband
cigarettes," added Klukas.
WCSA encourages all provincial governments to remain vigilant in
protecting public interests and stopping the spread of contraband
About the WCSA
The Western Convenience Stores Association represents over 6,000
family-owned and corporate-owned convenience stores that employ over
30,000 people in communities across western Canada.
SOURCE Western Convenience Stores Association
For further information:
Andrew Klukas at 778-987-4440 or Andrew@conveniencestores.ca. Visit www.stopcontrabandtobacco.ca.