VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – BC wine industry complaints about interprovincial trade barriers will be heard in the Supreme Court of Canada as part of an appeal of a cross-border beer dispute in New Brunswick.
Vancouver lawyer Shea Coulson says five BC wineries will argue as interveners in the case stemming from a 2012 incident when police fined a man who entered New Brunswick from Quebec with 14 cases of beer and three bottles of liquor.
Gerald Comeau was originally fined under New Brunswick’s Liquor Control Act for bringing in too much alcohol, but a provincial court judge tossed the case, saying it violated free-trade provisions in the constitution.
The New Brunswick government appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada, claiming the decision threatens to end Canadian federalism as it was originally conceived.
Coulson says the case to be heard in December is the first time any winery has had the opportunity to test the legal barriers to shipping wine made from Canadian grapes across provincial boundaries.
He says he will argue the provincial barriers threaten the existence of wineries who need to tap into a national distribution network to grow their businesses.