Trade barriers costing us

There is an interesting court case involving 454 bottles of beer that could very much open up free trade across provincial boundaries.
The Supreme Court of Canada will hear an appeal of the New Brunswick Provincial Court’s decision. Gerald Comeau had bought several cases of beer and some liquor in Quebec and had returned to New Brunswick and was charged with importing liquor into the province.
The provincial court found Comeau not guilty because the Canadian Constitution does not allow trade barriers between provinces. New Brunswick appealed the decision to Canada’s Supreme Court.
The question facing the Canadian Supreme Court calls into question section 121 of the constitution that states: “All articles of the growth, produce or manufacture of anyone of the provinces shall from the and after the union be admitted free into each of the provinces.”
Does that mean that goods produced within one province must be admitted into each of the other provinces free of duties or charges?
The provincial court found that they should and New Brunswick could not charge Comeau a special duty. If it is upheld, many provincial arrangements such as marketing boards, product standards, and interprovincial energy transmission could be upset.
When it comes to liquor, Canadians can now import beer, wine and liquor for personal use.
However, in Ontario and most other provinces, businesses must import through provincial boards.
In Ontario, it is easier to import wine from France than it is from British Columbia. Ontario guards the revenues that flow through its distribution system.
In Ontario, you can buy wine directly from an Ontario Winery. In B.C. and Manitoba, citizens can buy wine directly from any winery in Canada. Ontario, Alberta and Quebec continue to prevent their citizens from buying wine directly from out of province wineries.
If the Supreme Court upholds the lower New Brunswick decision, other barriers including milk, poultry, and egg marketing boards will also fall.
Those marketing boards are designed to protect the producers of those products and not the consumers.
Eliminating those barriers would provide consumers with better pricing.
A common set of recognized standards across Canada would make it easier for teachers, nurses, doctors and trades people to move interprovincially.
If it upholds the decision, the Supreme Court will make it more difficult for provinces and territories to discriminate against those trades and professions.
A Senate committee in 2016 found that the trading barriers within Canada’s provinces was costing our economy over $130 billion annually
It will make for interesting times as all the provinces will have to come to grips with the barriers that they have erected over 150 years of Confederation. Perhaps the provinces will finally live up to the requirement of the Canadian Constitution?

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