On December 14, 2018, the Alberta Court of Appeal granted the Canadian Constitution Foundation leave to intervene in the appeal of the Steam Whistle v. AGLC decision, in which two out-of-province beer companies successfully challenged unconstitutional discrimination by Alberta against their products. This case concerns the Government of Alberta’s beer policies since October 2015 and whether those illegally restrict interprovincial trade in a manner that violates section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867.
The CCF is intervening to ensure the court correctly applies section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867—the same provision that was at the heart of the Supreme Court of Canada’s Comeau decision earlier in 2018. The CCF supported Gerard Comeau in his case, which made section 121 a matter of national public interest during his 2015 trial and subsequent appeal to the SCC in December of 2017.
This is the first appellate court case in Canada interpreting the SCC’s Comeau decision, so it is important that it be given a liberal construction, in keeping with the original constitutional vision. Although the SCC upheld New Brunswick’s law in its ruling in the Comeau case, the Court did say that section 121 meant provincial governments cannot impede the free flow of legal goods within Canada for the sole purpose of inhibiting trade or protecting local industry. That is the issue in the Steam Whistle v. AGLC appeal.
Read our full press release here.
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