| Apr 24, 2008

Feature Article - April 24, 2008

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Feature Article -April 24, 2008 "Tax free cigarettes are not legal"- RCMPby Jeff Green

RCMP Officer Walter Veenstra denied that the RCMP communicated to Shabot Obaadjiwaan Chief Doreen Davis that the RCMP had no problem with the smoke shop that the First Nation has been operating at a former gas station across from Silver Lake Provincial park since last fall.

Chief Davis told the News last week that a meeting took place in January in which all of the federal and provincial agencies involved said they were fine with the operation of the shop, which is owned and operated by the Shabot Obaadjiwaan First Nation and sells cigarettes at well below market rate.

“No one can sell cigarettes in contravention of the excise act,” Veenstra told the News this week. “The rules are the same for everyone, even on reserves”.However, Veenstra said the RCMP is not likely to investigate the smoke shop to find out if taxes are being paid.

“The rules are the same, as I said, however, it’s not the mandate of the RCMP to do inspections of stores. Most of our activities deal with the transportation of cigarettes.”

Veenstra said the Health Unit and the Ministry of finance might deal with enforcement.

The News contacted Leeds Grenville Public Health last week, and we were told that the smoke shop conforms to the Smokefree Ontario Act.

We have been unable to contact anyone from the enforcement division of the Ontario Ministry of Revenue or Revenue Canada.

Sergeant Jeff McCann of the Sharbot Lake OPP said he also attended the meeting that took place in January but he had no comment to make.

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