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ALBAS: The economy of alcohol

Dan Albas, member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla.
Image Credit: Contributed
June 18, 2016 - 10:17 AM

 


OPINION


Editor,

In my June 1 MP report I referenced the opposition #FreeTheBeer campaign that ultimately means asking that the Liberal Government elevate the Comeau case to the Supreme Court for constitutional clarification. For a quick refresher the “Comeau case” was where the Province of New Brunswick charged a citizen, Gerard Comeau, for personally importing beer and some spirits across a Provincial border from Quebec. What is unique about this case was that a New Brunswick judge found Mr. Comeau was not guilty on account that our Canadian Constitution clearly states in Section 121 that “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.” Regrettably a few weeks ago the Province of New Brunswick announced they will be appealing this ruling.

Elevating this ruling to the Supreme Court for constitutional clarification has the potential to open up our internal economy for all Canadian producers of other products aside from just beer, wine or spirits. This obviously includes farmers and other agricultural producers. This week the motion I wrote on elevating the Comeau case to the Supreme Court was the subject of the Opposition day debate in the House of Commons – this was a first in my time as an opposition MP and I am pleased to report that both the NDP and Elizabeth May of the Green party joined with our Conservative opposition in support of this motion. It was only a whipped vote from the Liberal majority government that defeated the motion after some very good debate from all sides. I am reasonably confident had this not been a whipped Government vote it may well have passed.

Also occurring this week in Ottawa, and as I have reported in previous MP reports, is that Bill C-14, the physician assisted dying legislation, is now in the Red Chamber (as the Senate is often referred to) where the Bill has received some seven different amendments. As I reported last week the Liberal government has indicated that it will not be accepting of any amendments to this bill so a potential standoff between the House and the Senate seems inevitable at this point. Members of the Senate have also indicated they may reject the bill outright in the event the Government does not entertain some of the proposed Senate amendments. As this is a relatively rare and uncharted situation it is difficult to speculate on what will occur next however I will provide updates in my future reports.

On a local note I can now confirm that due to the popularity of the new mobile constituency service my office has offered in Merritt on the first Tuesday of each month from 9 a.m. until noon at the Merritt City Hall I will now be expanding this service to Princeton and Keremeos. Mobile constituency services will now be available on the second Wednesday of each month in Princeton from 9am until noon at the Princeton Town Hall. Also on the second Wednesday of each month from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. the service will be offered in Keremeos at the Village Hall. 

I welcome your comments and concerns and can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or toll free at 1-800-665-8711.


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