Editor’s Note: From 2014.
Weeks after the Conservative government deemed a federal inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women too costly, they have allocated $91.7 million over five years for a surveillance program that seeks to stem the tide of the Mohawk-run…
The government war on contraband tobacco has been in motion for some time now. Between 2007 and 2011, the RCMP seized nearly four million cartons of First Nations contraband cigarettes, with a retail value of about $80 million. In 2013, the Conservative government introduced a series of laws, packaged in the omnibus bill C-10, imposing mandatory minimums for people who get caught smuggling tobacco (with cigarettes, 50 or more cartons). According to police, cigarettes are not only smuggled across the border (since the territory at Akwesasne spans beyond the border on both sides) but the cigarettes are then sold at a cheaper price to largely non-Indigenous clients looking to circumvent costly federal and provincial taxes.
“This initiative will significantly enhance law enforcement coverage of the border environment that is being exploited by organized crime to facilitate cross-border criminal activities, including the smuggling and trafficking of contraband and humans,” the RCMP told VICE. “We will be implementing measures that will support and expand current intelligence-led efforts by enhancing current border technology, focused on the goal of disrupting organized crime groups, that are operating along the border between the Quebec/Maine border and Oakville, Ontario,” said the same media relations officer.