Nova Scotia’s decision to remove limits on how much alcohol can be brought into the province for personal consumption could inspire other provinces to do the same, says legal expert Howard Anglin.
“Every province that … moves to reduce friction at our internal provincial borders should be applauded for that and, hopefully, will be an example to other provinces,” said Anglin, the executive director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation.
The lack of free movement of alcohol across provincial borders has been a controversial issue since Gerard Comeau of New Brunswick took his case all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Canadian Constitution Foundation helped Comeau with his case.
Comeau stopped in police sting
In 2012, he was stopped at the New Brunswick-Quebec border as part of a sting operation by the Campbellton RCMP and fined nearly $300 for having 14 cases of beer, two bottles of whisky and a bottle of liqueur in his vehicle.
Comeau lost his case last April when the court ruled that Canadians do not have a constitutional right to buy and transport alcohol across provincial borders without impediments.
“It doesn’t apply to any other products of course,” said Anglin. “We’ve been conditioned to think in Canada that alcohol is somehow different.”
But the change in Nova Scotia could bring change across the country, said Anglin.
“Even small steps by a few provinces can show the other provinces that there’s nothing scary here. That would just bring Canada in line with how other federations work and that’s a good thing.”
Change is welcomed
It’s a change that’s welcomed by Stephen Dixon, the owner of Grimross Brewing in Fredericton.
“It’s positive for business,” he said. “For us to be able to have our beer travel more freely into Nova Scotia is nothing but a good thing.”
“We have a new government here in New Brunswick now and I’m not sure where they stand on this but maybe they’ll do the same thing too.”
Requests for comment from the provincial government in New Brunswick went unanswered.