August 02, 2015

"Double standards based on race": Ontario's First Nations reserves break tobacco laws with impunity -- caught on tape

David MenziesMission Specialist

After selling cigarettes to minors, a Richmond Hill mom & pop variety store was driven out of business. I investigate Ontario's two-tier justice system when it comes to tobacco sales and First Nations reserves.

Wearing spy glasses with a built in camera, I take you on a tour of a typical reserve store, where cigarettes smoking is permitted and free samples are even offered.

And yes, minors are some of its biggest customers.

These cigarettes are often made on the reserves, which means the government loses an estimated $1.1B to $2B in annual taxes.

Organized crime is deeply involved in this business, according to the RCMP.

My in-depth "60 Minutes" style expose includes an interview with the head of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association. He says the authorities "don't want to go on the reserves" to enforce the law.

He also explains that a new Ontario law banning menthol cigarettes will actually drive menthol smokers to reserves to buy their preferred tobacco!


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commented 2015-08-08 10:47:30 -0400
Headlines for Frank Burning, reserves are Canadian land that is set aside for the use of natives. Canadian laws do apply. The problem is that they are not enforced in some areas. Natives who break Canadian law are criminals just like non-natives who break Canadian law.
commented 2015-08-05 16:08:30 -0400
B…but who’s going to fraud elections for her if she clamps down?….
commented 2015-08-04 18:08:37 -0400
One rule for us and another for them – how Canadian. We see it at Caledonia. Certain groups can break the law with impunity.
commented 2015-08-04 15:09:45 -0400
Do you know that reserve land isn’t Canadian land? Therefore legally exempt from Canadian law. There is a treaty to allow co-operation from opp to enforce “laws”. They don’t have much of a say in what laws are being enforced. It is however illegal to sell non-duty paides ciggerates and then have that person leave said reserve. You could say that ignorance is excusable since you don’t see past your in veiws. Enjoy wasting your time trying to criminalize natives but it won’t work. You should try to understand one another so there is less ignorance going around.
commented 2015-08-03 19:12:02 -0400
-Local business owners going bankrupt.
- Contraband cigarettes on the rise.
-Organized Crime getting more involved
-Children buying cigarettes.

What else do you expect with Wynne in power. Harper’s attempt to get more transparency out of the natives and the monies we send them is looking like a better policy every day.
commented 2015-08-03 15:13:53 -0400
Oops, Bob Newhart, not Newman……
commented 2015-08-03 15:12:28 -0400
“I’ve quit once before, and I can do it again if I wanted to.” This link is a short representation of an early 70’s movie called “Cold Turkey” of a small town offerred a reward for giving up smoking. Hilarious. Reccommend the entire movie if one can find it. Great parody of small town America. Stars Dick Van Dyke, Bob Newman, among others.
commented 2015-08-03 15:04:58 -0400
I am about to solve the problem of illegal smokes in Ontario. I have thought long and hard about this, doing extensive research, crunching numbers, staying up late at night pounding away at this mind bending problem that keeps lefties awake at night. Are you ready? Here it is: (!!!!) Lower the price to $40.00 a carton. Super Genius!
commented 2015-08-03 11:08:23 -0400
As was posted a few times, the only way this problem can be successfully dealt with is for the government to back off. Stop massive taxation of store bought tobacco products, and allow competitive pricing with the reserve tobacco trade. Easement from tobacco farms in Canada would also reduce the dealings with organized crime in tobacco supplies. I am a smoker myself, but I am trying to look at this objectively, as I do all subjects. I might not always succeed, but anyone who has seen my posts knows this.

Government won’t back off though because they’re making too much money from the high taxes imposed on tobacco sales. The tax rate on a single pack of cigarettes is more than 60%. And with the greedy powers involved, we’re not likely to see that number fall anytime soon.

I’ve also had MANY debates on the ethics of using tobacco. With me, it’s a choice. Not a way of “sticking it to the man”, not as a need, but as a choice. I’ve quit once before, and I can do it again if I wanted to. Now, I’ve gotten the big, “Tobacco is killing you” spiel time and time again, and I know this. But then, what won’t these days? Alcohol will kill you. Marijuana will kill you. With allergies on the rise, certain foods will kill you. There are MANY, MANY things out there that will kill you. But the point to life is to live. Not be regulated by a higher doctrine, but by the morals of your own heart. Now once you’ve proven you are mature enough to make those choices consciously knowing the consequences, and can provide for yourself with our relying on others for your choice, you should be free to make it. That’s why the laws have to remain steady with our children. They don’t have the knowledge nor experience to make certain choices. Not everyone is going to agree, but it’s one of the few absolute truths out there.
commented 2015-08-03 09:44:18 -0400
In the end these indian smoke shops can be found everywhere.

Drove into one on highway 7 in Ontario last week while visiting some family in the east

Double standards are everywhere and apologists are always ready to make excuses for them – in the end if one person cannot do it why should someone else be allowed?

Skin colour – I guess that makes it legal.

But I did save some bucks on 5 cartons. LOL
commented 2015-08-03 09:24:43 -0400
“…the pro-FN groups (the NDP, the Liberals, and the Bloc to name a few)”
Ah. So you mean, a large majority of Canadians? That’s encouraging.
commented 2015-08-03 09:19:55 -0400
" “Sixty Minutes” would have invited a knowledgeable informant to explain the jurisdictional issues associated with the enforcement of provincial legislation on reserves.” – ya mean like you Terry?"
No, Bill, not like me. I’d suggest a lawyer with some expertise in constitutional and Aboriginal law. The point is that a single interview from an industry spokesperson does not represent balanced coverage.
commented 2015-08-02 23:29:03 -0400
Well done Menzoid! Very in-depth, very well produced, voiced, researched, etc. Terry’s point is valid, but it’s a very small point. He does say “60 Minutes STYLE”, not exactly the same, you know. But hey, it’s not like Terry is capable of actually approving of anything with Ezra’s brand on it so…
Further to the point tho – the question of jurisdiction. It sounds like it takes an addition to the Indian Act, or perhaps some addition to laws pertaining to the federal Health act or something else that can be applied. Basically, it’s up to the federal government to actually grow a pair and do something about policing and the law on reserves. Quite a bit more than they have done, I should say, as Kelly Block’s chief’s transparency thing is a good start. I’m pretty sure that provincial and municipal laws still have to be followed on reserves, it’s not like they get to make up their own laws or anything, at least not in the eyes of the law or according to any treaty I know of. Of course, we all know that’s not the case in reality, just look at the “marry out, get out” traditions on some of the Mohawk reserves. In every case I’ve heard of, what it comes down to is a lack of bravery on the part of the relevant police forces and/or provincial justice lawyers. And that lack of jurisdictional enforcement just reinforces the pro-FN groups (the NDP, the Liberals, and the Bloc to name a few) that these places do have the right to make and enforce their own laws, regardless of whether they jive with provincial or municipal (read: caucasian) laws or not.
commented 2015-08-02 18:18:15 -0400
Hmmm…. Anyone remember the illegally run “Burger Stand” with no running water etc etc. the authorities refused to deal with? Double standards indeed! Can’t do anything to offend the “Nations” can we?
commented 2015-08-02 18:17:20 -0400
My biggest concern with the on-reserve illegal tobacco industry is its association and affiliation with drugs, arms and human traffficking, including across borders and by air.

Terry is right, though. There are jurisdictional legal issues police cannot violate without bringing lawsuits down on our heads.

RCMP has lots of ads trying to educate the public and asking for informants so I believe the government officials are doing what they can in terms of intelligence gathering while the law grinds slowly and inefficiently towards change. FN reserves have good lawyers these days and sadly, many of the disaffected are ripe for recruitment to criminal organizations opposed to Canada.
commented 2015-08-02 14:20:22 -0400
A few points:
Smoking is bad but pot is good.
High-school kid’s use of tobacco product is up, from observation and discussion with school kids.
Regulation distorts the market.
Education does work if it is done in a smart and believable way.
To the first point, anything we consume and which is designed to alter your metal state can’t be good for you in the longer term. Then there is the damage of inhaling smoke, from any source, into your lungs.
To the second point, scare tactics have not worked and to forbid something to a teenager just makes it more desirable.
Government intervention in the market distorts supply and demand and, in general, makes the cost higher both for the product and in administration. The more the intervention the more the incentive to cheat. This is what we see with the native stores.
The only solution, really, is for governments to get out of the control of tobacco and alcohol as it applies to adults.
commented 2015-08-02 13:15:29 -0400
All the more reason to scrap the anti-tabacco laws.
commented 2015-08-02 11:36:33 -0400
The natives and unions are running Ont. not the air head flberals.
commented 2015-08-02 11:28:44 -0400
“Not exactly. “Sixty Minutes” would have invited a knowledgeable informant to explain the jurisdictional issues associated with the enforcement of provincial legislation on reserves.” – ya mean like you Terry? These illegal smoke shops exist off the reserve along public highways/right of ways as well – you’d know that if you ever left your mom’s basement.
commented 2015-08-02 11:24:08 -0400
Sorry for the typo – I meant – “Yes I have SEEN underage kids sold cigarettes many times from these illegal smoke shacks” – I’m not a law breaker – well at least to my understanding. ;-)
commented 2015-08-02 11:04:58 -0400
“My in-depth “60 Minutes” style expose…"
Not exactly. “Sixty Minutes” would have invited a knowledgeable informant to explain the jurisdictional issues associated with the enforcement of provincial legislation on reserves.
commented 2015-08-02 10:28:05 -0400
Also David. Your reporting is getting more open. Thanks! Please keep doing the background and sourcing.
commented 2015-08-02 10:26:06 -0400
I live in Alberta, I wish they had these smoke shacks in this province. Yes it may be wrong. But I too am a smoker and I can’t stand paying these high prices for something that isn’t illegal. I mean in this province I know people who smoke dope and they pay less for their dope then I pay for the smokes…
Yes I think the double standards are screwed, but until we get control of the fear / fact mongering.. This will stay the same and any real Canadian will be a full fled racist. If he or she opens their mouth against it.
commented 2015-08-02 09:34:02 -0400
ZEE good for you,
I think every smoker should go to the reserves and buy, why not ,if the government allows it then everyone should go.
commented 2015-08-02 09:25:06 -0400
I’ll tell each and everyone of you here that I’m a smoker…
I haven’t bought a “LEGAL” carton of cig’s in probably 20 years!
I refuse to pay EXTORTION PRICES for a legal product…
Too phucking bad eh wynne???
Just saying…
commented 2015-08-02 09:17:17 -0400
The left over the years have drilled into our heads that one cannot say anything to a minority or group, the reason, you may offend them. So, the minute anyone goes after lawlessness committed by the minority they will scream racism, the MSM will pick up the story to say how racism is rampant in Canada, which is another issue. That is where the problem lies, one should be able to voice their opinion without being called a racist. Wynne and her sex grooming agenda, look at all the parents that were called homophobes by Wynne because they disagree with her, how about Caledonia and the list goes on. The law is supposed to be blind but it is far from it, the law now is based on race, color, and creed, the very thing we got away from. The majority voice needs to start being heard again and get the minority voice locked up, lets get back to a true democracy where the majority rules. We should not be made to be felt less human because one may hold a different opinion than the left, if one is looking for robots with no individual thinking then vote for the left.
commented 2015-08-02 09:12:47 -0400
Well the bottom line here is that deep socialists (policy level social engineers) view 1st nations as an vulnerable exploitable group which can be radicalized to help in their destabilization of the current political power structure. We see this with radical fringe elements from the public sector unions inflaming Natives to anarchy and agitating at anarcho-socialist Alinski-inspired occupy-like events such as Caledonia or Ipperwash or Oka.

Socialist governments (such as those in Ontario and Quebec) view first nations ( particularly those radicalized against socialist hegemonic welfare statism) as a problem. They view illegal tobacco trade as economic independence detrimental to the reliance agenda they require from 1st nations. They see it as a “generational” issue in that their propagandizing, uber-regulating and taxing in the world outside the reserve will eventually deprive the industry of a local market. Obviously they have double standards concerning youth health issues, when they will run multi million dollar pogroms against non-native youth smoking but not a care about the high percentage of pre teen smoking on reserves where contraband tobacco industry flourishes unabated by government. They show the same lack of concern where marijuana smoking health issues are concerned but that’s an argument for another day.

In the case of the Mohawk contraband tobacco industry, it has been allowed to expand off the reserve to unlicenced contraband tobacco retail outlets along public highways – Yes I have sent underage kids sold cigarettes many times from these illegal smoke shacks – once as an OPP cruiser was within eye shot of the crime. This is the result of socialist government being unwilling to enforce the law for fear of being called racist by their more radical wings. Not that they fear the name calling as much as isolating this radical segment which they need to constantly create turmoil and crisis at a street level so they can use it to implement ever tightening controls on civil liberty, commerce and revenues.

So the Mohawk smoke shacks, native youth tobacco addiction, tobacco related health issues on reserves and contraband tobacco industry will remain a – " oh isn’t that horrible – someone ought to do something", narrative restricted to lefty nattering class media and cocktail party circuits – until socialists can find a justification for abolishing the native challenge to their state tobacco retail monopoly.