MONTREAL, Nov. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - Imperial Tobacco Canada is pleased to
see that the Harper government has committed to crack down on organized crime
and the smuggling of firearms as mentioned in last Wednesday's Speech from the
Throne. "We agree with the government when it says that serious offences
should be met with serious penalties," said Benjamin Kemball, President and
CEO of Imperial Tobacco Canada.
The illegal sale of tobacco has become an epidemic in Canada where,
according to a recent study, 32.7% of all cigarettes purchased in Canada are
illegal. This number rises to an alarming 48% of cigarettes purchased in
Ontario and 40% in Quebec.
In an April 2008 news release, the former Minister of Public Safety,
Stockwell Day, stated: "Tobacco trafficking and organized crime often go hand
in hand, resulting in other dangerous crimes, such as gun violence and drug
"The government is on the right track by making organized crime and
smuggling a priority, but limiting concerns about smuggling to that of guns is
too narrow a focus; and just the tip of the iceberg. With the smuggling of
guns also comes smuggling of other products such as drugs and illegal tobacco
and I hope that this government can see its way to broadening its focus to all
these illegal products" said Mr. Kemball.
The facts speak for themselves. According to the RCMP (as stated in the
2008 Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Strategy):
- Approximately 105 organized crime groups are known to be involved in
the illicit tobacco trade.
- 69% of these are also involved in drug trafficking, mainly marihuana
and cocaine, and/or weapons trafficking.
Imperial Tobacco Canada urges the Harper government to take specific
action to cut off an important source of funding for criminal gangs who
continue to threaten the safety of Canadian citizens.
For further information:
For further information: Karen Proud, Imperial Tobacco Canada, (514)
932-6161 ext 2269