OTTAWA, Oct. 17, 2014 /CNW/ - The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) expressed serious concern today about a court battle between the Canada Revenue Agency and the Montreal Police.
According to an article in La Presse published yesterday, at the heart of this litigation is a major contraband tobacco investigation conducted by the Montreal Police in collaboration with Revenue Quebec and the Sûreté du Québec through its anti-black market squad program, ACCES (Tabac).
According to court documents, the Montreal Police had been granted access to a series of documents held by the Canada Revenue Agency to complete their investigation in what is reported to be a massive contraband tobacco fraud against the Federal and Quebec governments. As the Canada Revenue Agency fought this ruling and lost, it has now asked the Quebec Court of Appeal to hear the case.
"It is absurd that one level of government is standing in the way of another's efforts to stop contraband tobacco," said Gary Grant, a 39-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service and national spokesperson for the NCACT. "Instead of working with Quebec police forces who are doing the most to fight contraband tobacco in this country, the Canada Revenue Agency is standing in the way, refusing to abide by a court order to provide information to Montreal Police. An appeal to sort this out is more than a year away, with hearings not taking place until 2016. Jurisdictional squabbling such as this makes it easy for large organized criminal groups to reap millions in profits at the expense of Canadian taxpayers' safety and pocket."
In a letter addressed to the Minister of National Revenue, the NCACT encourages the Minister to take serious notice of this situation and question herself and the Canada Revenue Agency on how the public's safety, finances and interest are best served in this situation.
The RCMP estimates that there are about 175 criminal gangs involved in the contraband tobacco trade. They also estimate that there are about 50 illegal factories operating in Canada. Contraband is also a prime source for youth smoking, as the criminals involved in the trade don't check for I.D. A recent study released by the NCACT found that 42% of cigarettes purchased in Ontario are contraband.
"Instead of working against each other in the legal system, this issue represents an excellent opportunity for cross-jurisdictional collaboration between the government's new 50-person anti-contraband tobacco RCMP taskforce and regional police." concluded Grant. "We hope that this matter can be resolved expeditiously, after all, information and intelligence collected by different agencies ultimately all serves a common purpose: protecting Canadians."
Read the full article (in French only): http://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/0fa4c2f7-00cf-45b5-a881-c945e771f707|_0.html
The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco is a Canadian advocacy group formed by organizations and associations 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 and United Korean Commerce and Industry Association (UKCIA).
SOURCE: National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT)
For further information: Michael Powell, (p) 1-866-950-5551, (m) 613-797-7313, (e) [email protected]