Is it time to Turn Cornwall Ontario into a Low Tobacco Tax Hot Zone? August 13, 2010 EDITORIAL

Cornwall ON – Is it time to turn Cornwall Ontario into a Tax Hot Spot for Cigarettes?

We’ve seen the shows on television and know the reputation of Cornwall Ontario and nearby Akwesasne for Cigarette smuggling.

The Canadian Government is spending millions of dollars trying to stem the flow of illegal cigarettes, but the results have been less than productive for the investment.

Is it time to think out of the box and re-evaluate the situation?

Other  than the legal and moral issues related to the subject  illegal cigarettes are good for the local Economy.

Instead of paying $80 + for a carton of smokes area residents pay about $20 for the equivalent.   That keeps a lot of money in the local economy and hundreds of people are paying their mortgages, buying cars, really loud electronic equipment, and lots of really ugly clothing and jewelly.

If you took illegal cigarette money out of this economy without replacing it the impact would be devastating.

The problem with the status quo is that it’s hurt the local economy.  Tourism is slower; less people cross the bridge.  Even the Highland Games saw less attendance this year; chiefly from the US.

Now it’s always easy to point out flaws and issue blame, but what about a possible solution?

One of the biggest costs of this mess is to local health care.   At $20 per bag more people are smoking more cigarettes and that balloons healthcare costs.

I have been working on a plan that would suggest to create a Reduced Tobacco Hot zone in Cornwall Ontario.     Packages of legal cigarettes would have different coloured wraps and would be issued via quota to local law abiding tax paying merchants.

More legal cigarettes would be sold and more dollars would stay with small businesses.  It would even attract travellers who would stop or venture to the area, and just perhaps would spend more money on other items and services.

Do this as a two year pilot project and review the results.

I personally think this would help the economy and actually combat the economies of the smugglers as they lose market share.

Actions always create reactions.  The bottom line should always be the impact on the health and security of the public.   It’s taken a long time to get smoking numbers down and it’s going to take generations of good work to eliminate it.

We need to think outside of the box and look at all options as the status quo simply isn’t going to work and throwing money and incarcerating people won’t help society in the long run either.

Jamie Gilcig – Editor – The Cornwall Free News

Coffey's Coffee Team Cornwall Schnitzels


  1. Lets see if this comment makes it in. My last comment n the Liberals role in the F35 purchase seemed to have gotten lost. First off most Americans are staying away because of a few reasons chiefly their new passport requirements and secondly their economy is on the verge of going the way of the Soviet Union. Second smoking does not cost health care anything in fact smokers die a lot sooner and its cheaper to bury them then provide extended cpp and oas and other things like knee operations, hip replacements etc….. all the things that healthy seniors will need as they age normally. In fact health conscious seniors are living longer and longer and cost governments increasingly more money. Smokers are hit with excess taxes because they are addicts and are easy targets same applies to consumers of beer and spirits. The black market economy in Cornwall is huge and growing thanks to the HST. The scale is rarely discussed or disclosed but its definately known as I have discovered during discussions with people in business and banking. Cornwall is however just a microcosm of a growing reality in this province. I generally agree with Jamies tongue in cheek comments we need more discussions on these and other similar issues.

  2. This quota idea is interesting. It would probably be against the Charter if only selling to local residents, but otherwise, instead of smuggling capital names, other names would be a risk. Would that help tourism?

    If the governments wanted smoking numbers lower, they could. Farmers in southern Ontario are growing peanuts and soy now plus of course the legal product called tobaco. Farmers are adjusting, but how would the Government without this revenue?

    Smoking in movies is coming back, the A Team for example.

  3. This is a very confusing posting.

    Jamie wants to give Cornwall equal smoking rights to Akwesasne. William Jones thinks that there is a black market in assassinating smokers before they can get medical treatment and Eric claims there is a plot to increase smoking through movies.

    Is this a plot for a Canadian version of Monty Python? Mounty Python perhaps?

  4. Jamie
    How will this work?

    Quota is a good idea,

    Sorry always questions
    How will you manage the 2 pack – day person to live within the quota alloted them?

    Who will provide the tobacco products and how will you keep McGuinty and his band of thieves from taxing the product.

    Would industry itself not try and regulate the quota scenarion, similiar to the industrial type lobbyists now keeping the LCBO and our governmental tobacco and goods co-orporation in business.

  5. Author

    Smee the merchants would be on quota. The cigarettes would be legally sold smokes and not sweep up the floor illegal factory ones. Yes there would be taxes but it would be reduced in the hot zones. If people have to smoke I’d rather see them smoke regulated and taxed product than not.

    I’m sure there are people smarter and more experienced than me who could cut the corners and fill out this framework than myself. I hope this idea can gain some traction and others can take it and run.

  6. Jamie, It sound different. However, I think it could work. Problem is, it won’t happen with the egotistical King Stephen. Lets face it, even when the Re-Cons are wrong, they will look you in the eye and say no, we are right. ie, the recession, shutting down parliament, Helena Gurgis, etc.

  7. I just throw out comments so Dalton McGuinty can pass another tax, distract the masses like…LOL
    There may not be a plot to sell more smokes, but some people buy into what they see stars do / wear etc!

    The shop owners/operators already have enough hoops to go through to sell a pack, we/they do not need to be unpaid help for the government photo op teams.

  8. Willlie
    I think you would have more of a problem with McGuinty then Harper. Nah I know you would.

  9. More people should have a problem with the McGuinty government, did you know the OPP are investigatimg 4 ministry’s? Transportation, Economic Development, Community & Social Services and the Ontario Reality Corp. Of course, they are innocent until proven guilty, unless you are Conservative…..

    As far as I can see, only the Globe & Mail reported it!

  10. OPP = Over Paid Police

  11. What ministry in the McGuinty government hasn’t been corrupt? Everyone should read the book “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, reminds me of the McGuinty government.

  12. Author

    Tammy, Tammy, Tammy….do you really think corruption is some sort of Liberal disease? Look at Guy Lauzon. I have never seen such a corrupt politician, and he certainly isn’t a Liberal. I’m not even sure he’s a Conservative. It was pathetic the way he ran after John Baird last week like a puppy looking to nurse….

  13. Tammy, you can add Harris and Eves to that list. And lets not forget about the air bus scandal. Geesh, you are a blind sided Re-con.

  14. Tammy: Please re-read Animal Farm…you missed the point completely.

  15. What a bunch of spoiled brats. Now you want to toss out the Charter of Rights…? The only reason there is an illegal cigarette economy is because people are too lazy and niceified to roll their own. People, a hand rolled cardboard filter biodegrades in a week or two as opposed to 27 years for commercial filters. Bunch of Dandies using machines stuffing tubes with tobacco. Just buy a fifty gram pouch of tobacco for $18.00, sit on a park bench, roll it up with your fingers and be glad you can get it at all.

  16. Destructo, I did read it twice. Its all about totalitarianism, manipulation, deceit…you know the whole McGuinty thing. And Willie 191…what Harris said he did, he was five years consulting the people asking them what they wanted, and followed through, right or wrong he did what he said he was going to do.

  17. Jamie, Its about keeping all of government accountable right? Vote them out when they lie. I don’t care who they are.

  18. Author

    Tammy, “vote them out when the lie” Geez I’m not sure about that one. How about vote them out when they get caught or vote them out when they don’t do the job. I have never heard of or scene a successful politician. Politics by nature mean working together with people and that sometimes means not going to war over an issue.

    Ever hear of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny? Our entire society is based on “lies”.

    This whole lying thing to me is a huge canard. Get the job done; work together; and don’t be a greedy snout filling lout I think is what most voters prefer.

  19. “‘Animal Farm’ is a dystopian allegorical novella by George Orwell. Published in England on 17 August 1945, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II. Orwell, a democratic socialist and a member of the Independent Labour Party for many years, was a critic of Joseph Stalin and was suspicious of Moscow-directed Stalinism after his experiences with the NKVD during the Spanish Civil War. In a letter to Yvonne Davet, Orwell described Animal Farm as his novel ‘contre Stalin’.”

    “The novel addresses not only the corruption of the revolution by its leaders but also how wickedness, indifference, ignorance, greed and myopia destroy any possibility of a Utopia. While this novel portrays corrupt leadership as the flaw in revolution (and not the act of revolution itself), it also shows how potential ignorance and indifference to problems within a revolution could allow horrors to happen if smooth transition to a people’s government isn’t satisfied.”

    THAT is what “Animal Farm” is about.


  20. What PJA says and quotes is fine, as far as it goes.

    Actually, Orwell described “Animal Farm” as a “Fairy Story”. Fable might be more apt. And while the story may have been inspired by “events leading up to and during the Stalin era,” it is by no means confined to the Stalin era. Rather the fable has universal application, and therein lie its power and appeal. Napoleons and Squealers are liable to surface at any moment in every human organization, whether government, political, business, educational, healthcare, NGO, you name it….and, yes, even democratic organizations such as Canada’s Parliament in 2010. Only constant vigilance prevents them from taking over, exploiting everyone in their orbit, and making an utter mess of everything. “Animal Farm” is as relevant today as it was 60+ years ago.

  21. PJA AND PJR, I too read the introduction and the appendix and I went onto the Wikipedea and read the book twice, and still concluded that the way Dalton McGuinty is running this province parallels the story of Animal Farm. Go back and read it again boys!

  22. Tammy, a good Re-Con like yourself can only see in a straight line. I proceed with my decisions when I am right. A politician proceeds whether they are right or wrong. With common sense, you don’t always need a consultant.You sure are a politician.

  23. OK Tammy. If you break down Animal Farm down to it’s most basic and elemental state, yes it is about totalitarianism, manipulation, and deceit. But that is the simplest possible summary of the book, and wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) pass the mustard in a grade school book report. All the characters in the novel have direct correlations to actual people and events relating to the Russian Revoluiton, as has been previously stated in this thread.

    While McGuinty may well fit into some loose generalization of totalitarionaism as you percieve it, all politicians past present or future also fit that description. And for that matter, there is any number of novels that deal with the subject matter of totalitarianism far more accurately for your purposes than Animal Farm. Without even leaving the Orwell section you could read 1984, a much more accurate comparison with our current system of government. It is a longer book though.

    I agree with you on one thing though. Vote them out if they lie. Then we would have no politicians left, and we could move on with our lives.

  24. I only read part of the back cover, and looked at some of the pictures. I agree with Tammy. It is about McGuinty.

  25. willie 191, I have been in municipal politics finishing up on my first four years, hopefully another four. Throughout the last four years, I have seen lots and its sickening. The provincial downloading from this McGuinty government has been unprecedented. This man has mismanaged Ontario, given himself raises on a continuous bases and only now decides to freeze them, a little too late don’t you think? McGuinty’s only concern is getting the Toronto vote, he caters to the unions, public servants, immigrants, special interest groups and environmentalists. He has such a disregard for Eastern Ontario, and Northern Ontario and anything rural. As stated in my letters, since he has been in office, public servants have increased by 22%, private only 5%. We have over 500 government agencies in Ontario, over 500,000 provincial regulations, twice as many as BC. I watch first hand, when I go up to Toronto for Good Roads/ROMA the arrogance and “Godliness” of this party. I see first hand how this government manipulates the people by fear tactics so that they can build on their empires while actually removing slowly the freedoms and rights of people. I could give you so many examples of government agencies, not that many years ago that actually fulfilled their mandate and worked hard and was proud. Since McGuinty, the bureaucracy has disrupted every government agency out there, so much so that most aren’t doing their job, and still get the big wages. I go to all kinds of events, where socialism is so ingrained in these people (Liberals) that common sense and fiscal prudence has vanished. I could go on and on…
    I consider myself a small “c” conservative, and I can tell you I am in a very small minority. And thats why I claim that this province is in big trouble.

  26. I agree with everything you have said Tammy. My problem, The Conservative and Re-Cons are the same. Both parties are based on greed and corruption. It’s time we give another party an opportunity. They cannot do any worse.
    Thank you for your insight.

  27. Your welcome. But there’s more…I am not a big fan of government of any kind, BUT the only government who remotely talks about less government, and philosophically believes in it, is the Conservative government therefore I vote for them. And I am going to work hard to hold them accountable, that’s the only way we will get some sort of change. Check out Randy Hillier’s web-site MPP for Lanark Frontenac Lennox and Addinington. He works hard, lately he took on a labour union who tried to infiltrate a small business in Ottawa. The IBEW (electrician union) tried to force six employees to join their big unions. The companies name is called Arc Electrical Ltd. They employed six people. The IBEW union moved in and created such havoc amongst the six individuals and owners, that they shut down and are totally devastated and stressed out. The story was covered in the Ottawa Citizen I think this past Sunday. I have heard of this before, its not uncommon. That is one reason why I want to support the Conservatives, at least they are trying and they also recognize that change is necessary, people are fed up, and they are working on it.

  28. It is my opinion that the provincial Liberals and the Conservatives are the same. Put whatever spin on it you wish.

  29. Tammy A. Hart says: I have been in municipal politics finishing up on my first four years, hopefully another four.
    As a constituent of South Stormont…I sure hope not!!!!!!!!!

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