PM Harper says Organized Crime is behind Contraband Tobacco - So what's he
going to do about it?

TORONTO, March 18 /CNW/ - The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco is calling on the federal government to follow-through on the Prime Minister's remarks Monday about organized crime profiting from the trade in contraband tobacco by taking serious action to halt the trade.

In his YouTube interview, Prime Minister Harper was asked about legalizing drugs. In his response, he remarked about the damage caused by the crime and terrorist rings behind the trade. He then turned to the subject of contraband tobacco and added:

"You know, and I just wish people would understand that, and not just on drugs. Even when people buy, you know, an illegal carton of cigarettes and they avoid tax, that they really understand the kind of criminal networks that they are supporting, and the damage they do."

"The Prime Minister seems to be well aware of how the trade in contraband tobacco is being orchestrated by organized crime groups," said Gary Grant, spokesperson for the Canada-wide National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT). "The obvious question is what are they going to do about it? They know the roots of the problem; They know it's robbing government of tobacco tax revenue; and, they know our kids are getting easy access to tobacco. It's heartening to see the Prime Minister is aware of the problem, and we're eager to work with the government to implement long-term solutions as soon as possible."

No one solution will fix the problem of contraband tobacco, but the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco outlined several solutions that together can make a real difference:

    
    Federal Government Actions

    -   Appoint an anti-contraband Czar with powers to draw upon departments
        in the federal government to identify permanent, long term solutions.
    -   Finalize new border crossing point in Cornwall to curtail smuggling
        activities.
    -   Champion a study on contraband either from the Senate or
        Parliamentary Committee in order to understand the differences
        between the contraband trade in the early 1990s, now and what can be
        expected in the future. This will help to create long-lasting
        solutions.
    -   Fund the Public Awareness Campaign as announced in March, 2009.
    -   Collaborate with US officials regarding illegal manufacturing of
        contraband tobacco in New York State.
    -   Increase enforcement by providing more resources to the RCMP.
    

SOURCE National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT)

For further information: For further information: Media inquiries: John Perenack, perenack@primestrat.com, (416) 238-2576


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