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Crime

Over 1 million contraband cigarettes seized in Edmonton

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2 minute read

From Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis (AGLC)

Multiple contraband tobacco products seized by AGLC investigators

More than 1 million contraband cigarettes with a value of more than $665,000 were recently seized following an investigation by Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis (AGLC).

The total potential lost tax revenue is estimated to be more than $292,000.

The seizure took place at a storage facility in central Edmonton. Jian Wang of Edmonton was charged with trafficking in contraband tobacco contrary to section 121.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada. The accused is scheduled to appear in Edmonton Provincial Court on February 17, 2021.

Contraband tobacco:

  • is any tobacco product that does not comply with federal and provincial laws related to importation, marking, manufacturing, stamping and payment of duties and taxes;
  • comes from four main sources: illegal manufacturers, counterfeits, tax-exempt diversions and resale of stolen legal tobacco; and
  • can be recognized by the absence of a red (Alberta) or peach/light tan (Canada) stamp bearing the “DUTY PAID CANADA DROIT ACQUITTÉ” on packages of cigarettes and cigars or pouches of tobacco.

In addition to lost revenues that may otherwise benefit Albertans, illegally manufactured products also pose public health and safety risks as they lack regulatory controls and inspections oversight.

All wholesalers and importers of tobacco into Alberta must be licensed to sell or import tobacco for resale. Furthermore, all tobacco products must be labelled according to federal and provincial regulations. Albertans who suspect illegal tobacco production, packaging and/or trafficking are encouraged to contact AGLC’s Tobacco Enforcement Unit at 1-800-577-2522.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding with Alberta Treasury Board and Finance, AGLC enforces the Tobacco Tax Act and conducts criminal investigations of contraband smuggling. In 2019-20, provincial revenue from tobacco taxes was $805 million.

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Crime

Canada’s justice system struggling to fight crime amid highest murder rate in 30 years: report

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Canada’s murder rate has increased every year from 2018 to 2022, including by 8% from 2021 to 2022, and the police-reported rate for sexual assault is at its highest level since 1995, research indicates.

A well-known Ottawa think tank warned in a recent report on crime that Canada’s justice system is unable to keep up with out-of-control crime that has risen sharply in the last few decades to the point where the national murder rate at its highest in 30 years.

According to the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s “Report on the Criminal Justice System” released last month, Canada’s violent crime severity is at its highest level since 2007.

“Canada’s criminal justice system is clearly performing worse than it was six years ago,” the report concluded. “There remains a need for ongoing independent monitoring and performance measurement of the criminal justice system in Canada.”

In 2021, the violent crime rate increased by 6%. In 2022, the rate went up another 5%.

According to researchers, Canada’s murder rate has increased “every year” from 2018 to 2022, “including by 8% from 2021 to 2022.”

“The current homicide rate is the highest it has been in 30 years, and the police-reported rate for sexual assault is at its highest level since 1995,” researchers described.

The Institute’s report card on crime in Canada goes through each province and territory, noting that every level of government “bears a portion of the costs of criminality and each level of government therefore has an interest in its suppression.”

Since 2017, when the last report card was released, some provinces have done better and others have gotten worse. For example, Alberta’s overall positive ranking has gone up (less crime) and Ontario’s has gone down (more crime). The provinces with the most violent crime in terms of rates per population were Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The report found that violent crime in the last five years went up overall, with the “proportion of “Canadians who express confidence in the fairness of the criminal justice system is troublingly low.”

The report also noted that confidence in “police and the justice system are worryingly low.”

“And no wonder: The combination of plunging clearance rates and an increasing number of cases stayed or gives the perception of a justice system that has given up on its core responsibilities,” according to the report, which also noted that one of the biggest issues “with fairness in Canada’s criminal justice system is the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in incarceration.”

“Since 1995, the Criminal Code of Canada has required courts to consider all available sanctions other than imprisonment, especially when it comes to Indigenous offenders.”

It should be noted that Canada’s Supreme Court said in 2012 that lower courts must “must take judicial notice” of the history of “colonialism, displacement, and residential schools” when sentencing Indigenous people.

However, the reality is that Indigenous people jailed for committing crimes is extremely high proportionally in western Canada and Ontario.

When it comes to the overall justice system in Canada, it scored low in terms of efficiency.

“The percentage of cases stayed or withdrawn increased in every single province and territory since 2017, as has the median criminal case length,” the report noted.

Also, crimes have been solved at a lower rate in 2023 compared with previous years, as more cases were stayed or withdrawn.

“Our criminal justice system has unquestionably become less efficient over the last five years despite the introduction of measures designed to enhance the expedient dispensation of justice,” the report states.

“For the most part, the story is not a positive one. On all five of the broad criminal justice objectives, the system is not performing as most would hope, and the situation appears to be deteriorating,” the report concluded.

Crime on the rise in Canada under Trudeau

In 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government passed Bill C-75, which in effect created a “catch and release bail system,” according to pundits and the opposition Conservative Party.

As a result, Canada has seen in recent years a sharp increase in auto thefts from organized crime groups, who have taken advantage of weak sentencing for those caught committing theft.

Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre recently blasted Trudeau for the rise in auto theft, blaming his soft stance on criminals.

“After eight years of Justin Trudeau, car thefts are up 300% in Toronto and 100% in Ottawa and Montreal. Nationally, car thefts are up by more than a third since his Liberal government took office,” Poilievre said.

Last week, Poilievre promised that a Conservative government would “go after the real criminals by restoring jail not bail for repeat violent offenders and career car thieves.”

“It’s not the courts that have turned loose criminals and allowed this crime wave, it’s Justin Trudeau. It was not the courts that passed C-75, the catch and release bail system, it was Justin Trudeau. It was not the courts that brought in house arrest for repeat car thieves in C-5, it was Justin Trudeau,” Poilievre said.

Last week, LifeSiteNews reported that Statistics Canada data shows most violent gun crimes in the country last year were not committed at the hands of legal gun owners but by those who obtained the weapons illegally. This comes despite the federal government cracking down on legal gun owners.

Crime against Christian churches has risen sharply in the past two years, with approximately 100 churches to date having been set on fire or vandalized, with almost no arrests made. That fact has prompted Poilievre to call out Trudeau for being silent on the church burnings.

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Alberta

Edmonton Fire Rescue Captain charged with child sexual exploitation

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News release from ALERT Internet Child Exploitation unit (ICE)

Edmonton fire captain charged in ICE investigation

A Captain with the Edmonton Fire Rescue Service has been charged with child sexual exploitation offences following an investigation by ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit.

Christopher McDonald was arrested on January 16, 2024 with the help of the Morinville RCMP. The 54-year-old man is charged with possession of child pornography, accessing child pornography, making available child pornography, and two counts of unsafe storage of a firearm.

ICE began its investigation into McDonald in October 2023 following reports of a suspect sharing high volumes of child sexual exploitation materials online.

“Given the position of authority and the role firefighters have in the community it is concerning that the suspect is accessing and distributing child sexual abuse material,” said Const. Scott Sterling, ALERT ICE.

A number of computers and electronic devices were seized from McDonald’s home, which are now being examined to collect further evidence. During the search of his home several firearms were located, which were not being properly stored.

While the investigation and charges are related to online offences, the nature of McDonald’s employment placed him in a position of trust and authority. ICE is encouraging anyone with information about this case to come forward and contact police. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact local police or Crime Stoppers (1-800-222-TIPS).

McDonald was released from custody on a number of court-imposed conditions, and is awaiting his next scheduled court appearance on February 15, 2024 in Morinville, Alta.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.

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