Man­i­toba pre­mier wants cuts to the re­stric­tions on in­ter-provin­cial booze

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - NATIONAL NEWS - STEVE LAM­BERT

WIN­NIPEG—Man­i­to­baPremier Brian Pal­lis­ter is ask­ing his col­leagues to elim­i­nate re­stric­tions on in­ter­provin­cial booze runs.

In ad­vance of next week’s pre­miers meet­ing in New Brunswick, Pal­lis­ter has writ­ten a let­ter to other provin­cial lead­ers out­lin­ing his pri­or­i­ties.

In the let­ter ob­tained by The Cana­dian Press, Pal­lis­ter says the prov­inces should re­move their lim­its on in­ter­provin­cial trans­porta­tion of al­co­hol for per­sonal use.

He says the idea has broad pub­lic sup­port, and would show progress in the ef­fort to re­duce in­ter-provin­cial bar­ri­ers on other items.

In April, the Supreme Court upheld a New Brunswick law that fined a man $240 for bring­ing home a trunk load of beer and liquor from Que­bec.

The high court said prov­inces have the power to en­act laws that re­strict com­merce if there is an­other over­rid­ing pur­pose, which in New Brunswick’s case was the de­sire to con­trol the sup­ply of al­co­hol within the prov­ince.

Pal­lis­ter’s let­ter says the pre­miers should adopt a rec­om­men­da­tion to re­duce al­co­hol re­stric­tions from an ad­vi­sory body called the Reg­u­la­tory Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and Co-op­er­a­tion ta­ble, set up un­der the Canada Free Trade Agree­ment.

“In par­tic­u­lar, the rec­om­men­da­tion re­gard­ing a per­sonal use ex­emp­tion will ad­dress long­stand­ing con­cerns re­gard­ing the trans­porta­tion of al­co­holic bev­er­ages across do­mes­tic bor­ders by sig­nif­i­cantly in­creas­ing per­son­aluse lim­its,” Pal­lis­ter wrote.

“I sug­gest we con­sider go­ing fur­ther by fully re­mov­ing those lim­its, a move strongly sup­ported by Cana­di­ans from ev­ery re­gion of the coun­try.”

Pal­lis­ter also points to other items that are sub­ject to in­ter­provin­cial bar­ri­ers in­clud­ing truck­ing reg­u­la­tions such as size and weight re­stric­tions, ab­ba­toirs and busi­ness reg­is­tra­tion re­quire­ments.

“The Bank of Canada has es­ti­mated that re­mov­ing ex­ist­ing trade bar­ri­ers could raise real GDP by the equiv­a­lent of ap­prox­i­mately $1,500 per fam­ily per year. Viewed from that per­spec­tive, the costs of in­ac­tion are high.”

The pre­miers meet­ing, which runs July 18 to July 20, will cover a va­ri­ety of top­ics in­clud­ing In­dige­nous is­sues and in­ter-city buses.

Al­berta’s Rachel Not­ley wants to find some re­place­ment for Grey­hound bus routes that are be­ing ended across Western Canada at the end of Oc­to­ber.

“I will be rais­ing this is­sue at the Coun­cil of the Fed­er­a­tion with a view to work­ing on com­mon so­lu­tions with my fel­low pre­miers and the fed­eral govern­ment to en­sure western Cana­di­ans — par­tic­u­larly those liv­ing in ru­ral ar­eas, in­clud­ing many In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties — have ac­cess to the trans­porta­tion ser­vices they de­serve,” Not­ley said in a writ­ten state­ment Wednes­day.

Pal­lis­ter said he hopes pri­vate firms will step for­ward to fill the void — one firm in north­ern On­tario has al­ready an­nounced plans to ex­pand west­ward. He said govern­ment sub­si­dies will not be the an­swer.

“The com­pa­nies that take the sub­si­dies tend to run out as soon as the sub­sidy runs out.”

Brian Pal­lis­ter

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