Canada’s Conservatives Hopeful the Supreme Court of Canada will “Free the Beer”

OTTAWA—John Nater, Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Interprovincial Trade and the Sharing Economy and Member of Parliament for Perth—Wellington, is hopeful that the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Her Majesty the Queen v. Gerard Comeau will be a positive first step in reducing interprovincial trade barriers, including on the sale of beer, wine and spirits. The case is scheduled to be argued on December 6th and 7th.

Section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867 states, “All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces.”

However, a 1921 Supreme Court decision interpreted this provision in a way that allowed interprovincial trade barriers to be upheld. Since that time, interprovincial trade barriers have emerged throughout Canada. This has made products more expensive for Canadians and made it more difficult for small and medium-sized businesses to sell their products across provincial borders.

“This case is a historic opportunity for the Supreme Court to restore the original intention of Section 121 of Canada’s Constitution,” said M.P. Nater. “Canadians recognize the economic benefits of reducing interprovincial trade barriers. Small businesses and consumers stand to significantly benefit from the outcome of this case. It should not be a crime to buy Canadian beer, wine or spirits from another province.”

On November 23, 2017, M.P. Nater introduced Private Members’ Motion M-158 which calls on the federal government to renegotiate the Canadian Free Trade Agreement with the provincial governments.

“The Canadian Free Trade Agreement, signed by Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, is a disappointment,” said M.P. Nater. “This agreement fails to adequately reduce interprovincial trade barriers within Canada and is filled with exemptions to free trade. Instead of creating working groups, the federal government needs to go back to the table and negotiate a deal which significantly reduces interprovincial trade barriers”.


For more information:

Keith Mitchell
Office of MP John Nater