Provinces help Big Tobacco undercut FNs cigs: businessman

First Nations cigarette makers can’t compete with the discount products of “Big Tobacco” if provincial governments continue to meddle in the First Nations tobacco trade, says a former Saskatchewan cigarette wholesaler.

By Larissa Burnouf
APTN National News
SASKATOON
–First Nations cigarette makers can’t compete with the discount products of “Big Tobacco” if provincial governments continue to meddle in the First Nations tobacco trade, says a former Saskatchewan cigarette wholesaler.

The Saskatchewan government seized a shipment last week of Mohawk cigarettes sent from a Kahnawake, Que., manufacturer because the product did was not licensed provincially.

The federally-licensed Mohawk manufacturer, Rainbow Tobacco, claims it does not need to pay provincial taxes for cigarettes shipped and sold to reserves, which fall under federal jurisdiction.

Rainbow, which is trying to establish on-reserve cigarette distribution networks throughout Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, has recently had cigarette shipments seized in all three provinces.

Peter Gardippi, a gas bar owner on Beardy’s reserve, said he once  struck a deal with the province to sell his own Cree brand smokes, but big tobacco companies came in with their discount brands to undercut the First Nations product.

 “We weren’t making a lot of money doing it,” said Gardippi. “The major tobacco companies were coming out with their own, low cost cigarettes and it was really tough to compete with Big Tobacco.”

Gardippi said that although he complied with provincial tax laws, the province needed to recognize and acknowledge First Nations’ treaty rights on tobacco.

“The province does not agree with our treaty right position,” he said. “There needs to be an agreement with the province and with First Nations to sell those cigarettes and that hasn’t happened yet and I don’t think the province will agree to come up with a solution.”

The 100 carton shipment seized by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Finance and the RCMP last Monday was destined for Cheryl Maurice as a sample product from Rainbow Tobacco. Maurice said the cigarettes were seized at a Saskatoon courier depot.

“Those products that were sent to me were not even for resale,” she said. “They were to give to our elders for ceremonial purposes and to distribute to First Nations like a marketing strategy because we want to create our own economy in First Nations communities.”

Maurice said she believes the province is only getting involved because it feels it has something to lose.

“Every time we meet with the province they tell us that we’re not their responsibility, you’re federal,” said Maurice. “But when it comes to something like this…why are they interfering in what we we’re trying to do for our people?”

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Before moving to become the APTN News social media producer, Mark was the executive producer for the news in eastern Canada. Before starting with APTN in 2009, Mark worked at CBC Radio and Television in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa.

8 thoughts on “Provinces help Big Tobacco undercut FNs cigs: businessman

  1. like think about it who is the head of state… the queen….nwhy did they trade to get beaver hats….and we protected that trade….nthe indian act was done by who her father the head of the military….nnext is what every liecen company in breach of not having our aproval…nlike just count all the companies that leach off us and where they come from..nnnn

  2. don’t forget the Crown has a duty to educate her peasants about our trade treaty as an anti perversion protocols…. that it limits the liability abuse that can held against Briton….nnyou sew for the trade embargo created by the indian act… by the hand of her father…. for lost trade wealth….nnunder Briton tork law… basically we can sew Briton ass off for breach of trade treaty law….nnlets bang some drums of awarness… to the queen server court papers….

  3. Every time we meet with the province they tell us that weu2019re not their responsibility, youu2019re federal,u201d said Maurice. u201cBut when it comes to something like thisu2026why are they interfering in what we weu2019re trying to do for our people?u201dnn====== tell them your our responsobility because your on our land that te agreements with britton is about trade…..again to trade here they need 2 parties to the licence grated by the queen….the one party is us the other the queen….nnthey cant patent our land we already hold it….nnso any licence trade without are aproval stamp on it is a crime…nnits the limit to what your licence can do here in our country Turtle Island patent

  4. By CAROL MULLIGAN, THE SUDBURY STARnUpdated 12 hours agonnnFirst Nations will also have to be “careful” that any royalty sharing agreement they arrange with the province is based “not on a percentage of the mining tax, but on a share of gross revenues.”nn==== how royalty turns into bread crumbs…lolnthe is lower….nthe share holders need to be paid before you and thier millions of them to tend to with all kinds of ponzi systems in them….the cost bridge for one set cronies to anther set of cronies… where they serve the same master who owns both sides…but charge mass to scoop the loot…nbank imposing loans…. the force sale by stockholder scams imposing more bank loans….the amount of scam shares you think you have….nnwhen you sell a basket of apples make sure theirs reward for every basket harvested….and make shure they don’t steel the cherries….because they will…. like we only harvest and sell diamonds but yet they scam what ever they can get under your nose…nnlike shares built in levels they dont tell you…

  5. here is what i mrean by prov tax…. every pack sold must have the tax and so the tobbaco company mush show its being charged and its not playing games… so thiers no way they could under cut it could they… unless thier not charging the tax on it…

  6. Exactly! It is true that when First Nations have a problem, the Province shrugs us off to the Federal government. They don’t want to deal with our problems, yet they are all too eager when it comes to taking their share of the money pie.nnI’m not really sure I support tobacco so much as I support the principle behind this whole ordeal. I don’t even smoke.nnThere needs to be free trade established among First Nations across Canada.nnWhen we’re talking about reforming or abolishing the Indian Act, this is one issue that should be considered – Free trade among First Nations, free from the Provinces.nnI really think the issue here is bigger and more far-reaching than just tobacco, but the Canadian government is going to make it seem like tobacco is the only thing at stake here. Free trade and sovereignty go hand in hand.nnIt’s really time First Nations come together. Whether it’s under the Assembly of First Nations or something else, we are in desperate need of uniting to prepare for the storms ahead. Canada may lose its sovereignty, but First Nations must not.nnCanada is already losing its sovereignty to those big oil companies and corporations going after gold and minerals. When those corporations want to dig and tear up land to make money, Harper bows to them.. If non-native people want to blame anyone for draining Canada’s funds, they need to look first to those U.S. corporations coming up to Canada, bleeding the land dry and only giving a sorry pittance to the rest of us. Not to mention those banks that are making record profits into the hundred of billions of dollars. nnWho’s getting rich? The rich.nnWhen Canada is running a deficit, and even Alberta, the richest of the provinces is running a deficit, why aren’t they taxing those corporations more? So what if those corporations threaten to go somewhere else, where are they going to go? Who else in the world has as much “ethical oil” as we do? Why is there so much poverty when there is so much money being made?nnCalgary’s mayor Nenshi proudly boasts that Alberta is going to have another economic boom in a few short years. Who’s going to get rich?

  7. u201cThe major tobacco companies were coming out with their own, low cost cigarettes and it was really tough to compete with Big Tobacco.u201dnn===see they runs a mob ponzi structure…. it has to do with tax rebait from the prov….nnthey do this to all industry to gain control and then impose poverty….

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