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A New Brunswick Judge Just Struck A Blow For Beer Rights

You've got to fight for your right to partake.

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Beer-loving travellers rejoice, a New Brunswick judge has ruled that limits on driving booze over provincial borders are unconstitutional.

Gerard Comeau won his fight against his province's restrictive beer laws Friday. Comeau is a retired steelworker who went on a booze run to Quebec in 2012 and drove back to New Brunswick carrying 14 cases of beer. He was fined $300.

Canada has an absurd patchwork of laws about bringing booze over provincial borders. New Brunswick has the strictest rules of any province, allowing people to bring in just one bottle of wine, one bottle of hard liquor, and 12 pints of beer.

Why? These laws help government liquor monopolies keep a stranglehold on importing booze.

Comeau launched a constitutional challenge to get the law struck down.

On Friday New Brunswick provincial court judge Ronald LeBlanc issued a long ruling that went some unexpected places...

Speaking now on fathers of confederation and their intentions in crafting the constitution. Cross-provincial trade and tariffs central here

Leblanc concludes that fathers of confed intended interprovincial free trade

LeBlanc eventually sided with Comeau and found that the inter-provincial liquor law is unconstitutional. Comeau is a free man!

(Well, he was free before, but now he doesn't have that ticket.)

This ruling only effects New Brunswick, but it is expected to be appealed to a higher court.

This is likely just the first round of a long legal fight all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. So stay tuned.


Paul McLeod is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Paul McLeod at paul.mcleod@buzzfeed.com.

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