OTTAWA, Dec. 4, 2013 /CNW/ - Yesterday, the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights as part of its study into Bill C-10, the Tackling Contraband Tobacco Act. Gary Grant, NCACT's national spokesperson, spoke in support of the legislation.
"We are pleased to testify in favour of legislation that increases the power of police to address contraband tobacco. 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," said Grant, a 39-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service and Chair of Toronto Crime Stoppers. "In fact, La Presse recently highlighted the involvement of Hells Angels in the illegal cigarette trade in Montreal, including the elaborate criminal distribution network that these gangsters used to move and sell cigarettes in Quebec."
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. This legislation and RCMP task force were campaign commitments in 2011.
The NCACT believes that this legislation is a meaningful action towards addressing the problem of contraband tobacco, particularly if paired with more "boots on the ground" via improved resources for law enforcement officials. 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 illegal cigarettes. We hope that it will be passed quickly by the House of Commons and Senate," concluded Grant.
To read NCACT's testimony from the committee, please visit bit.ly/NCACTC10.
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 include: Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA), Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council, National Convenience Stores Distributors Association (NACDA), Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Frontier Duty Free Association, Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers, Fédération des Chambres de Commerce du Québec (FCCQ), Conseil du Patronat du Québec (CPQ), l'Association des marchands dépanneurs et épiciers du Québec (AMDEQ), Toronto Crime Stoppers, National Citizen's coalition, The Customs & Immigration Union (CIU), the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, and l'Association des détaillants en alimentation du Québec (ADA).
SOURCE: National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT)
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