June 14, 2016

Why only the Supreme Court can cut the red tape around Canada's liquor laws

Holly NicholasRebel Commentator

You might be really surprised at how much red tape is connected to that case of beer you’re picking up for the weekend.

Liquor laws in Canada are outright absurd and in some cases protectionist and unconstitutional. And the rules are different depending on which province you live in.

For instance, if you live in New Brunswick there are restrictions on how much liquor you can bring into the province. So people tend to drive to Quebec, where booze is much cheaper, but if caught, they are subject to fines. In fact, Gerard Comeau has been caught up in a legal battle with the province for just that reason.

And then there’s Alberta, where importers and breweries outside of Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia are in a legal battle with the NDP government for the massive taxes that they've implemented on what are deemed “foreign” products, some of which are actually produced right here in our own country.

Both of these cases go back to the Gold Seal case in 1921 that went to the Supreme Court of Canada.

It's not just court cases that are causing problems. Conservative Member of Parliament Dan Albas was involved with the "Free My Grapes" campaign and championed Bill C-311 which ultimately allowed for the shipment of wine and eventually other alcohol for personal use under federal law.

But in reality, the provinces still have direct control when it comes to liquor laws. Bill C-311 attempted to remove that extra federal government layer on booze laws.

It’s a really complicated topic and the government can’t do anything permanent about it. So, I talked to Derek From at the Canadian Constitution Foundation about the real solution to the problem.

He says that it ultimately rests on the Supreme Court and not the government, to eradicate all the red tape when it comes to alcohol. As Derek mentions, there’s really not much that can be done until actual laws completely change and these issues are out of the hands of the government.

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commented 2016-06-15 02:43:38 -0400
I love that Holly defends the rights of beer drinkers.
commented 2016-06-14 19:47:53 -0400
Good reporting Holly.

Can’t speak for other parts of the country, here in Alberta the ndp and company or just greedy, after all they need all the money they can get the prop up the civil servants and unions.

The ultimate solution will come when justin and his entourage bring in the long anticipated sharia law, then there won’t be any alcohol, problem solved.
commented 2016-06-14 19:29:38 -0400
The new carbon taxes coming and already here will make this issue trivial.
commented 2016-06-14 19:02:46 -0400
A prime example of Gerard Comeau’s comments is the Justine Trudeau government reversing everything the Conservatives enacted. Pure elementary school tactics.
commented 2016-06-14 16:58:03 -0400
I can remember back to when the NBLCC abolished the “quart” beer bottle (actually only22 oz.) We would drive 470 km to the nearest Quebec liquor store to get what we wanted, and of course we had to bring the empties to Quebec because the bottle depots in NB wouldn’t take them.
Remember what Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi” used to say? “I suffer for my soup.”
commented 2016-06-14 16:50:52 -0400
Its a case of follow the money. No province wants to give up the gravy train of liquor taxes. Just think of the chaos which would ensue if I could buy from the cheapest source, in any province! My provincial government might have to reduce taxes in order to stay competitive. We can’t have that.
commented 2016-06-14 16:50:31 -0400
If only JOHN A were around today
commented 2016-06-14 16:39:22 -0400
I’ll just bet that we will have an imposed prohibition, in order not to offend those who are so easily offended.
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