OTTAWA, Dec. 4, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco applauded the government of New Brunswick for considering actions to address the province's growing contraband tobacco problem.
"Illegal cigarettes are a growing and significant problem in New Brunswick," said Gary Grant, a 39-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service and national spokesperson for the NCACT. "On an increasingly regular basis, the RCMP and other law enforcement agencies are reporting significant seizures of contraband tobacco that is being trafficked into New Brunswick. In fact, in late November the RCMP seized more than 1.5 million cigarettes near Val-Doucet, along with guns and illicit alcohol."
The provincial government recently announced that it was considering a dedicated contraband tobacco enforcement unit to address this issue. The provincial government, as per the program review, hopes that a crackdown on contraband tobacco will increase revenues by as much as $5 million, estimating that every 1% interruption in contraband tobacco increases provincial revenues by $1 million. If New Brunswick models its efforts on those successfully introduced in Quebec, it should see results.
"Quebec has shown that meaningful anti-contraband tobacco measures can have a real impact," continued Grant. "Quebec's Bill 59 and Acces Tabac program, which increased powers to local law enforcement agencies and provided them with the resources they need to investigate illegal tobacco, have reduced contraband levels by about 50%. That has left more money in the provincial treasury and less in the pockets of organized crime."
The RCMP estimates that there are about 175 organized crime groups involved in the illegal cigarette trade. They use the profits from cigarette smuggling to finance their other illegal activities, including guns, drugs and human smuggling. The contraband tobacco trade is fueled by 50 illegal cigarette factories, based mostly in Ontario and Quebec, each of which can produce as many as 10,000 cigarettes a minute. While the problem began in Central Canada, it is now spreading East and West as criminals follow easy profits.
"The government is right to take action against illegal cigarettes before the trade becomes entrenched," concluded Grant. "Ontario and Quebec have learned hard lessons that letting the trade flourish and develop only makes it harder to address, fueling profits to criminal gangs which only serves to make communities less safe."
The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco is a Canadian advocacy group formed with the participation of businesses, organizations and individuals 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, United Korean Commerce and Industry Association (UKCIA),and National Capital Area Crime Stoppers.
SOURCE National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT)
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