The following is a letter from SDSG MP Guy Lauzon:
Our riding of Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry received some very good news last week. On Tuesday, March 5, 2013, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced that our Government is advancing its efforts to combat the trafficking and cross border smuggling of contraband tobacco. Our Government will accomplish this by establishing a 50 officer RCMP Anti-Contraband Tobacco Force and by creating a new Criminal Code offence with mandatory penalties of imprisonment for repeat offenders. Many of these criminals engage in other organized criminal activity like weapons and illegal drug trafficking, which is a serious threat to the residents of SD & SG.
The goal of the RCMP Anti-Contraband Tobacco Force is to target organized crime groups engaged in the production and distribution of contraband tobacco. This will build on the increasing success of the local RCMP Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Strategy. Since 2008 they have laid 5,000 charges, broken up 66 crime groups, and seized 3.5 million cartons of cigarettes. The priority is to further reduce the contraband market and disrupt even more organized crime networks. The profits from contraband tobacco are used by organized crime groups to traffic in illicit drugs, firearms and humans.
In order to support our law enforcement personnel’s efforts, our Government is also creating a new Criminal Code offence with mandatory penalties of imprisonment for repeat offenders. The proposed amendments to the Criminal Code would create a new offence of trafficking in contraband tobacco. Under the amendments, anyone who sold, offered for sale, possessed for sale, transported, distributed or delivered contraband tobacco would be committing an offence.
The new law also proposes a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment for a summary conviction and five years for indictable offences. The mandatory minimum penalties on indictable offences would be ninety days incarceration on a second conviction, one hundred eighty days on third conviction, and two years less a day on subsequent convictions.
I hope reading the above convinces you that March 5, 2013 was indeed a great day for our riding.