Imperial TobaccoCanadahas congratulated the government of Manitoba for its leadership in addressing the supply of untaxed and unregulated tobacco sold by the First Nations-owned Chundee Smoke Shop.
“Manitobais leading the way on this important and complex societal issue,” said Caroline Ferland, Imperial’s vice-president corporate affairs.
“The province has taken decisive action to confront a problem that other provinces, most notablyOntarioandQuebec, have shied away from for fear of political fall-out.
“It is reassuring to see that at least one province believes that there should not be two sets of tobacco laws in this country.
“It is time for other provinces to follow suit.”
In a note posted on its website, Imperial said it recognized that the sale of tobacco by First Nation communities was a complex issue to resolve but that ignoring the problem only made it worse. It was now time, it added, for governments to show real leadership and find concrete solutions that would resolve this problem once and for all.
“First Nations have a significant role to play in addressing this issue and the federal and provincial governments must work with them to find solutions that will ensureCanada’s tobacco laws are respected,” said Ferland.
“Whatever your position on tobacco products, it is incontestable that legal tobacco – taxed, regulated, and subject to hundreds of restrictions under the law – pours millions of dollars into provincial coffers each year.
“Today, tobacco products sold by First Nations do not respect the tobacco laws and pay nothing back.”
Imperial said that a court order sought by the Manitoba Attorney General and issued on November 5 would allow theManitobagovernment to take ownership of the ‘controversial First Nations-owned Chundee Smoke Shop’.
The provincial government was quoted as saying that the court ruling “further validates our position that the possession and sale of non-Manitoba ‘marked’ tobacco products are illegal, as specified under the provisions of the Tobacco Tax Act. The Act applies to all tobacco sales on- and off-reserve, by both Aboriginal owned and non-Aboriginal owned businesses.”
With more than 350 smoke shacks inOntarioandQuebec, it is estimated thatOntarioloses approximately $500 million in tax revenue every year because of untaxed and unregulated tobacco whileQuebec’s estimates are at $225 million.
Category: Breaking News