A recent Ispos poll indicated Canadians overwhelmingly want to tear down trade barriers to alcohol, and any other legal product, across the country. The Supreme Court is getting ready to hear a landmark case on provincial beer and liquor monopolies triggered by a New Brunswick man who was arrested on his return to that province after he had bought alcohol in Quebec.
He fought the ticket using the argument that Section 121 of the Constitution Act of 1867 mandates that all Canadian goods be admitted freely across the country. I looked it up and it does say, “All Articles of the Growth, Produce or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the union, be admitted free into each of the other provinces”. If the Supreme Court decides in favour of the fellow from New Brunswick there will obviously be growling and muttering coming from some provinces who want to continue with the interprovincial trade barriers that are in place now. Don’t ask me how they came to be since 1867 because I didn’t research that complicated issue. But from experience we know that if a province can find a way to get an advantage for their own citizens, and provincial coffers, they will figure out how to do it in this federal parliamentary democracy in which the provinces are considered co-sovereign.