by Ken Preston
Hello Bob from Canada! I'm sure you're not surprised to know you
have a lot of readers here but I've never seen you publish anything
about things here. So I thought I'd report in on what I see as a
ground breaking court ruling this week when charges against a New
Brunswick man arrested for importing Quebec liquor were dismissed.
I'm convinced the ruling will have a national impact far beyond the
beer world and other drinkers for that matter.
In fact many experts (not me, I'm not a lawyer) have written in the
local and national press that the ruling could have the power to shift
a host of laws across the country governing everything from selling
chickens to how engineers and other professionals work across
In a nutshell, here's what happened. Judge Ronald LeBlanc threw out
all charges against Gerard Comeau, 62, for importing 14 cases of beer
and three bottles of liquor from a Quebec border town. The judge
cited the words of Canada's founders, saying they never intended that
laws should blatantly block the free flow of goods within the new
country. I have a feeling you folks in the USA will appreciate that.
In his opinion the judge wrote that "I find that the speeches and
orations from the Fathers of Confederation prior to the enactment
of the British North America Act, 1867, conclusively point to their
desire to implement free trade as opposed to the elimination of
customs duties as between the provinces,".
To tell the truth, the decision brought tears to my eyes and not just
because I'm now going to save some money when buying beer.
Obviously the issues is bigger than just that. And yes, I know not to
get carried away over this since just about everyone this provincial
court decision will eventually make its way through appeals to the
Supreme Court of Canada.
If that happens and our top court supports the ruling in Comeau's
favour, it could effectively throw out Canada's marketing board
system, allowing for the free trade of chicken, eggs, and milk, which I
predict would cause food (and beer) prices to come down significantly.
A Supreme Court ruling could also have the effect of doing away
with licensing standards that prevent engineers and other professions
from moving easily between provinces. As I said, it's more than beer.
This case has already been in the court system for quite a while as
Comeau was one of four people charged after a police "sting"
operation in 2012. He was arrested because the New Brunswick
Liquor Control Act prohibits anyone in the province from having
more than 12 pints of beer that wasn't purchased through
a liquor store in the province.
That was the law RCMP were using when they seized Comeau's liquor
and fined him $292.50 for bringing the liquor home to Tracadie, N.B.
Judge LeBlanc's decision confirms that what tens of thousands,
(maybe hundreds of thousands) of New Brunswickers - me included-
have been doing for the past 40 years is not a crime.
Hope you and you're readers might find all this of interest. To me it's a
step forward for free enterprise and of course for beer!
Thanks for sending your article Ken. You bing up an important subject.
I agree with you that the best way to keep prices in check and increase
the variety of beer in the marketplace is to allow free competition.
I'd like to invite everyone to send me their own columns about
anything related to beer/drinking/booze just as Henry did. I select
the best and publish them here. So join in and get writing.
|BeerNexus proudly presents
"the ombudsman of beer"
Bob and Friends Speak of Beer......
|Want to be a "friend of Bob"
and write a guest column?
Just e-mail your article to
|Bob does not verify authorship of
articles. All articles are assumed to
be written by the sender.