Albas: Opening up provincial economic borders

Dan Albas regrets that legislation he introduced into Parliament was defeated by the Liberal house majority.

In my MP’s Report of June 1, 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 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 appeal 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 Green Party leader Elizabeth May 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 that had the Liberal MPs been free to vote as they wished, the vote may well have passed.

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Also occurring this week in Ottawa, and as I have reported in previous MP reports,  the 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.

For further information please contact me at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.