As a result of the OCSA Lobby Day where we discussed contraband tobacco with all 32 MPP’s on the day, MPP Vic Fedeli of Nippissing contacted North Bay and asked for a copy of the resolution sent to Queen’s Park. Today MPP Fedeli read a member statement in the house about contraband tobacco ask he promised in our meeting of last week. Please fins the link to his speech of today and feel free to share this with your colleagues.

Mr Fedeli’s statement is as follows:

QUEEN’S PARK – Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli today urged the government to do more to tackle the problem of contraband tobacco sales in Ontario.

In a Members’ Statement today, Fedeli brought forward a North Bay City Council resolution passed last year on the issue.  The prepared text of the statement is as follows:

Speaker, illegal contraband tobacco products are easily accessible in Nipissing and indeed many other areas of Ontario.  The RCMP recently estimated there are 50 contraband tobacco manufacturers operating in Ontario and Quebec.  Moreover, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation estimates federal and provincial governments lose up to $1.1 billion a year in tax revenue from contraband tobacco sales in Ontario each year.  That’s the cost of cancelled gas plants.

City Council in North Bay has recognized this is a great concern.  In a January 2012 resolution, they noted 42 per cent of smokers in Northern Ontario purchased cigarettes from an outlet not paying full taxes in the past six months; and 53 per cent of Grade 7 to 12 students who smoke say they smoked contraband cigarettes in the past year.

The North Bay Council resolution was directed at the Health and Finance Ministers and encouraged those Ministries “to maintain a strong focus on tobacco control and to work with local law enforcement agencies in this regard.”

The lack of will by this government when it comes to enforcement is hurting us all – it hurts retailers, hurts our finances, but it also hurts our kids and their health, and that’s shameful.