New modest investment by federal government in fighting illegal cigarettes encouraging
TORONTO, May 28 /CNW/ - Two days after the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) issued its first report card and gave the Harper government failing grades in tackling contraband tobacco, Public Safety Minister, Vic Toews, and National Revenue Minister, Keith Ashfield have announced a new package of measures to combat this illegal trade.
"We are encouraged by the new commitments the Harper government has made in tackling contraband tobacco, but remain concerned the government is not doing enough to address the problem," said members of the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco. "With tax losses in the billions, a modest $20 million set of measures to combat the organized crime driven trade in illegal cigarettes is a drop in the bucket. The measures announced today are the kind that should have happened several years ago when the problem was only a fraction of what it is now."
Coalition members added: "We're cautiously optimistic these measures will have some impact, but they will by no means solve the problem. For example, the government knows there are 50 illegal cigarette factories in Canada and we will be watching to see if these measures will provide the RCMP with the resources to shut them down. We also cannot see how these measures will help stop shipments of cigarettes between border crossings, especially across the St. Lawrence River, a major source of illegal cigarettes. We would have liked to see an announcement of a much needed border patrol as the Conservatives committed to during the last election."
With initiatives now being put forward by both the federal and Quebec governments, Ontario is the only jurisdiction that has not demonstrated any concrete progress to stamp out contraband tobacco despite the fact that Ontario has the highest levels of contraband in the country.
The NCACT plans to continue monitoring the situation and the government's progress over the coming weeks and months.
SOURCE National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT)
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