Update on “Is there anything they won’t smuggle?”

According to an article on today’s news site for The Toronto Sun, a Niagara Regional Police officer and two other men have been charged with smuggling about $200,000 worth of cheese into Canada.  The constable’s charges include conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and breach of trust under the Criminal Code of Canada and Customs Act violations, including making false or deceptive statements, having illegally imported goods and smuggling.  The other two were charged with conspiracy to smuggle goods, breach of trust and three other Customs Act smuggling-related charges.

A spokesman estimated their profit at $165,000.



Is there anything they won’t smuggle?

We’ve all heard or read news reports of people being caught at our borders trying to smuggle various items into the country.  Guns; drugs; people, sometimes exotic animals or ivory.  A man was arrested at the Canadian border not too long ago trying to bring live snakehead fish into Canada.

But I have to shake my head over an item on one of the news sites today.  Niagara Regional Police are investigating incidents of cheese being smuggled into Canada.  Yes, you read that right: “cheese”.  A pizza shop owner in Fort Erie Ontario was approached by a man who offered to sell him the same quantity of cheese he was buying legally at a savings of some 35%.  The man found the cheese to be inferior to what he was using and didn’t take the offer.

The price of cheese (and most dairy products) in Canada is somewhat regulated by the gov’t at various levels.  This accounts for part of the reason prices of many identical products are higher in Canada than across the line.  However, as I wrote in “We are not the same”, Canadian tastes differ from those of our southern neighbours.  That also applies to foodstuffs and may be why the pizza shop owner found the cheese “inferior” – it didn’t taste like his usual cheese.  Oh, it may have had the same name, be that mozzarella or whatever, but it didn’t have the same ratio, or possibly quality, of ingredients as the Canadian product, therefore he considered it inferior.

According to that article, apparently cheese smugglers can make one or two thousand a week bringing cheese into the country illegally.  The main problem is that since they don’t have the proper paperwork from the Canada Food Inspection Agency and other departments, if caught, the cheese is confiscated and, in most cases, they’d get a fine.

So, based on this, it is obvious it isn’t necessary to smuggle in goods the mere possession of which is illegal (guns, drugs, ivory) in order to make money.  And if the feds or province ever makes possession of cheese against the law, I’ll be in real trouble.

Enjoy the rest of your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love (and more Havarti) too.