OTTAWA, July 5 /CNW Telbec/ - To mark the coming into force today of Bill C-32, which prohibits the sale of small flavoured cigarillos in Canada's 23,500 convenience stores, the Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) has released new irrefutable evidence that illustrates the alarming extent of the irresponsible sale of tobacco and flavoured cigarillos on native reservations in Quebec and Ontario. This evidence shows smoke shacks on Native reserves operating above the law and in many cases, selling industrial quantities of cigarettes, even to minors, without collecting or paying any taxes.
"For the first time, we are showing Canadians that the irresponsible large-scale selling of contraband tobacco on Native reservations is nothing but a national disgrace caused and tolerated by the federal government," said Michel Gadbois, senior vice-president of the CCSA. "With Bill C-32, Minister Aglukkaq just makes things worse by giving smugglers and criminals a monopoly on little flavoured cigarillos."
The seven-minute video entitled 'Inside Smoke Shacks' was produced last week using a hidden camera. A private investigator commissioned by the CCSA visited and filmed inside 10 tobacco shacks chosen at random on the Kahnawake and Kanesatake reservations in Quebec. One can easily see tobacco products on the shelves (not hidden), a very broad selection (native or imitation commercial brands, and in bags) at widely varying prices (as little as $11 for a carton of cigarettes, compared with $75 on average at convenience stores), an enormous inventory and, especially, a range of flavoured cigarillos at a third or half their legal price.
In addition, the CCSA has released a second video, 'Irresponsable sale on Six Nations', which shows results of a first sting operation on the Six Nations reservation in Ontario. A 15-year-old girl visited 10 tobacco shacks to try and buy flavoured cigarillos. In eight smoke shacks, she was able to buy tobacco products with no difficulty, without being asked her age or to produce ID, which shows the lack of responsibility on Native reservations and band councils that tolerate similar set-ups on their territory.
"By burying its head in the sand, the federal government is turning its back on principles of public health and crime prevention that it has put years and millions of dollars into developing. It only feeds public cynicism that they're letting such a situation deteriorate, and it's high time we stopped it altogether," added Gary Grant, spokesperson for the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco and a former police officer in charge of CrimeStoppers Toronto.
"If she really has the kid's health at heart, Minister Aglukkaq's top priority should be the fight against contraband tobacco and nothing else, and that, until the situation is rectified," Mr. Gadbois concluded.
The two videos presented by the CCSA today are available on YouTube at the following addresses: Inside Smoke Shacks can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHgfuXD-dD0 while Irresponsable Tobacco Sale on Six Nations is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcfJOOz5sFE.
SOURCE Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA)
For further information: For further information: Canadian Convenience Stores Association: T: 866-511-2481, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org