Court ruling protects liquor monopolies

We’re told that the path to hell is paved with good intentions. On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada sped down this road in upholding archaic restrictions on inter-provincial trade.

Section 134(b) of New Brunswick’s Liquor Control Act makes it illegal for residents to possess large amounts of alcohol not purchased from the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation. Gerard Comeau was in violation of this law when an RCMP stakeout caught him driving back from Quebec with a trunk full of beer, resulting in a $240 fine.

Comeau could have crossed nearly any Canadian border and faced a similar penalty due to a slew of post-prohibition regulations found in every province and territory.

He claimed the Act was in violation of Section 121 of the BNA Act, 1867, which guarantees the freedom to trade across the dominion. The Fathers of Confederation intended to create a nation unhampered by tariffs, his legal team argued.

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