Measures will make Canadian communities safer from organized crime
OTTAWA, Nov. 6, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) today welcomed final passage of Bill C-10, the Tackling Contraband Tobacco Act, landmark legislation that provides law enforcement officials across Canada with tools to make communities safer from organized crime.
"We are very pleased to see this legislation become law. It increases the power of police to address contraband tobacco by making smuggling large volumes of illegal cigarettes a criminal offence," said Gary Grant, a 39-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service and Chair of Toronto Crime Stoppers.
"Illegal cigarettes make our communities less safe by serving as a cash cow for organized crime. In fact, the RCMP estimates that about 175 criminal gangs use the profits from the trade to finance their other activities, including guns, drugs, and human smuggling."
The Tackling Contraband Tobacco Act was first introduced during the last session of Parliament. It creates new penalties for tobacco smuggling, including mandatory minimums for repeat offenders. The government has also committed to establishing a 50 officer RCMP anti-contraband task force.
The NCACT believes this legislation provides meaningful action towards addressing the problem of contraband tobacco, which represents 1-in-3 cigarettes purchased in Ontario over the past year.
However, there is still more that can be done. Greater cooperation among all levels of government is needed, as is more public education about the harms of contraband tobacco.
"With this legislation, the government is taking an important step forward in dealing with contraband tobacco," concluded Grant. "While it will only empower law enforcement to tackle large quantities of illegal cigarettes, we hope that it comes into force as quickly as possible so that police officers across the country can be enlisted in the fight against contraband."
ABOUT THE NCACT
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)
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