Supreme Court upholds law restricting cross-border provincial beer runs

Supreme Court upholds law restricting cross-border provincial beer runs”

An SCC ruling today could change that.

The institute says it will look to develop free trade across Canada through talks with the federal and provincial governments, adding the trade barriers threaten wineries that use a national distribution network to grow business.

The Crown disagreed, arguing that Section 121 was only meant to stop provinces from charging tariffs at the border but allowed the provinces to enact a set of rules and regulations with respect to bringing alcohol from another province into theirs.

But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on a trip to France and Britain where he heralded the recent Canada-EU free trade pact and opened the door to a post-Brexit accord with Britain, pointed to a deal with the provinces past year that was "a significant step forward towards full free trade within Canada".

Ian Blue, one of the lawyers who represented Comeau, said Thursday his team is "very disappointed" by the Supreme Court ruling.

Free-the-beer: Supreme court ruling today

The Beer Store- Gananoque, Ontario, Each Province has a near monopoly on alcohol sales, and also controls and collects taxes on tobacco, and regulates sales of a variety of products and services within the province. The main goal of the law Comeau challenged was to manage supply and demand of liquor in New Brunswick - therefore the law is constitutional. -Quebec border by RCMP officers and fined for having 14 cases of beer and 3 bottles of liquor that he had purchased in Quebec. Upon crossing back into New Brunswick, police charged him with not buying alcohol through the provincial liquor board.

Gerard Comeau, a New Brunswick man who was fined $240 plus administrative fees in 2012 for driving across the border to Quebec to buy several cases of beer and some liquor, said he will now have to live with the unpopular cross-border booze rules. "Ms. Otto's insistence on trying this case all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court cost the state, counties, and private auditors a large amount of time and money".

At stake for the provinces are millions of dollars in taxes from alcohol and tobacco sales within their jurisdiction if people can cross the boundary into other provinces where taxes are lower.

The court said it would undermine Canadian federalism to take away any provinces power to control what comes across its borders.

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