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