UPDATED September 17, 2015|
The Canadian Constitution Foundation has a new crowd funding campaign to help pay for the legal defence of Gerard Comeau, a retired steelworker who in October 2012 went on a booze run to Quebec. When Gerard crossed the bridge back into New Brunswick, the RCMP pulled him over. He was charged with illegally importing alcohol into his home province and his legally purchased beer and liquor was destroyed.
The campaign suggests these laws benefit government monopoly sales agencies while constraining private businesses and citizens. Government alcohol agencies determine what products are bought and sold and at what price. There are billions of dollars at stake for the provincial governments. It’s almost guaranteed that they will try to defend their monopoly up through all possible avenues of appeal. As the CCF presents Gerard’s case, every province will be watching.
The campaign is crucial because there is no way Gerard could afford to pursue this constitutional legal challenge on his own. Besides offering an entertaining history lesson on our courts’ legal crackdown on freedom, the crowdfunding campaign also calls on Canadians to stand alongside Gerard as he takes on the New Brunswick government in a case so crucial to interprovincial trade that it is likely to end up before the Supreme Court.
Read more at theccf.ca/freebeer
Gerard Comeau’s trial was August 25 to August 28 at the courthouse in Campbellton, NB. An additional lawyer joined the team for the trial: Arnold Schwisberg of Markham, Ontario. Mr. Schwisberg has extensive experience litigating cases involving alcohol laws.
Do you think it is right to fine a retiree for merely buying alcohol from a neighbouring province? We sure don’t! The Canadian Constitution Foundation is proud to support Gerard Comeau and his lawyer Mikael Bernard in their constitutional challenge to portions of the New Brunswick Liquor Control Act. The section being challenged prohibits New Brunswick resident from importing alcohol from another province or country in excess of a 12-pint limit for beer, or two bottles of spirits. What is the purpose of these prohibiting provisions? To prop up a government-run monopoly that limits consumer choice, damages small business and violates a key component of our constitution (s. 121).
Success in this challenge for Gerard Comeau could mean a lot more than a new era in booze runs. It could mean a new era in Canadian commerce. A broader application of s. 121 would give Canadians a stronger legal bulwark against government meddling in all transactions across provincial boundaries. These prohibition-era policy regimes have no place in 2015. Help us fight this case if you care about economic liberty and consumer choice!