The federal government has ordered a crackdown on licensing of tobacco manufacturers in the wake of reports that permits are going to people from organized crime and the contraband cigarette trade.
Say it ain't so, Joe! And how big is this issue?
Yesterday, a study produced by one of Quebec's top business schools, HEC Montréal, and PricewaterhouseCoopers and Desjardins for the convenience store association said almost 50 per cent of the cigarettes smoked in Ontario and 40 per cent of those in Quebec today are technically illegal.
But really, who is to blame here for this taxation shortfall? Parliament? The civil service? Police? The feds or the provinces?
Oh no no no my friends, it is not them.
Blackburn, who revealed he had worked in a dépanneur [variety store] in his university years and understands the issues, announced his department is also launching an advertising campaign reminding Canadians that their actions have consequences.
"I want smokers to be fully aware of the domino effect they start when they buy contraband cigarettes," he said. "Smokers need to know they are encouraging organized crime by buying smuggled tobacco."
The refusal by the OPP to shut down illegal Indian smoke shack operations all over the province has nothing to do with it. Nor does the fact that Mr. Blackburn's licensing department has been issuing licenses to manufacture to known criminals despite probably daily pissed off phone calls from the OPP, SQ and RCMP. Nor indeed does the aforementioned fact that 70 cents of every dollar spent on smokes is TAX. Its your fault. You dumb bastards!
So smarten the hell up out there, eh? How do you expect this to run smoothly if you won't do what you're told?