July 29, 2015 Print

Canada had a long history of free trade between provinces until prohibitionists changed that nearly 100 years ago for many goods — including beer. The Canadian Constitution contains a provision specifying that goods shall “be admitted free into each of the other Provinces,” but New Brunswick’s Liquor Control Act still prevents Canadians from bringing legally purchased alcohol across the province’s borders. Retired steelworker Gerard Comeau learned this the hard way when he was fined $292.50 and had his beer confiscated after picking up a few cases in Quebec to bring with him to his home in New Brunswick. Rather than pay the fine, Comeau has decided to stand up and challenge this protectionist law.

Atlas Network partner the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) aims to provide Comeau with legal support, and has launched an Indiegogo campaign to involve others in this fight for constitutional rights and raise money for the case’s legal fees. Supporters of CCF’s “Free Beer” campaign, in addition to potentially contributing to a significant win for Canadian consumer choice and freedom, will receive “Free Beer” pins, Canada Post–issued stamps, and personalized courtroom sketches of themselves.

“These protectionist laws benefit government monopoly sales agencies while constraining private businesses and citizens,” CCF’s Indiegogo campaign page explains. “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 through all possible avenues of appeal. As the CCF presents Gerard’s case, every province will be watching.”

Although this initial court battle is being fought at the provincial level, the challenge and constitutional argument against the law that it raises could have far broader implications and effects across the country.

Donations to the Free Beer campaign will help ensure that CCF is “fully prepared to fight for the constitutional rights of all Canadians — and to make sure that this time, freedom wins.”

Learn more about CCF’s “Free Beer!” Indiegogo campaign.

Read “The CCF is crowd funding for freedom and Gerard Comeau.”

Read “R v. Comeau (on interprovincial trade).”