The crimes we dont see

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Sentenced to a total fine of $1,852,180, a Quebec man has exemplified why crime doesn't pay and that it is easy to assume our court system is disproportionate from reality.
Glenn Tennant of Howick, Quebec, walked out Amherst Provincial Court on Oct. 1, with the heavy fine hanging over his head and will have three years to pay it. The courts have given him until Sept. 30, 2011, to return and update them on his payments and financial situation.
Tennant's crime stemmed from illegal cigarettes and a lot of them. But, unlike marijuana or drinking and driving causing bodily harm, contraband cigarettes fall under Canada's excise and the revenue Acts.
For the most part excise taxes can be considered taxes to dissuade us from products that are harmful to our wellbeing - like cigarettes and booze - or taxes imposed towards the future care of the consumer - because of the cigarettes and booze. Cigarettes and alcohol are big money makers for federal and provincial governments, being as heavily tax burdened as gasoline (which is also taxed under federal and provincial excise acts).
Unfortunately, the value of tax dollars is never made clear when related charges are introduced in a court of law. Few, if any, will say taxes are splendid but these taxes are the meat-and-bones of health care, our highways and many other national institutions.
Try explaining this to a young, developing mind, however, and the probable reaction is that it's better to get caught pimping and slinging dope so long as they stay away from the illegal booze and cigarette trade.
The world of contraband ultimately affects every Canadian. Everything else is on a personal level, i.e. this person hurt that person; or that person has unlawfully interfered with the life of another person.
It is a hard pill to swallow when a violent offender is given house arrest or time served because these crimes affect us on a personal playing field -- we see the injustice they have caused.
The reality is, though, any cut to healthcare because of illegal contraband like unmarked cigarettes impacts every Canadian but the affects of that cut take longer for the public to gauge.

Geographic location: Quebec, Canada

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