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back our competitiveness and the growth
of businesses across our nation.
South of the border, a 2015 U.S.
Supreme Court decision to allow the directto
consumer model has shown similar benefits
for producers and the economy – but
on a much larger scale, with corresponding
overall growth in both value and volume.
Small wineries in the U.S. now generate
up to four times more revenue than their
Canadian counterparts as a result of the
allowance of direct-to-consumer selling
of alcohol. In another stark comparison,
domestic wine makes up just over one-third
of the Canadian market while American
wine comprises nearly three-quarters of the
U.S. market. In Quebec, Canada’s largest per
capita wine consuming province, Canadian
VQA wine sales market share is only half of
a per cent.
In 2018, Gerard Comeau brought the
issue of barriers to alcohol trade in Canada
before the Supreme Court of Canada and
lost. Comeau’s road to the Supreme Court
began in 2012, when he crossed the border
from New Brunswick to Quebec to purchase
beer at a store on the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First
Nation, which was priced cheaper than
what he could obtain in his home province.
Caught in a sting operation, Comeau was
handed a ticket of almost $300 for possessing
liquor not purchased from the New
Brunswick Liquor Corporation, in violation
of that province’s Liquor Control Act.
It is now apparent that the issue of
interprovincial trade is not likely to be
fought in the courts, but rests in the hands
of elected officials – and Premiers have
demonstrated that with political will an
icebreaker deal is within reach. Even if
the personal provincial limit was indeed
doubled as has been proposed, Comeau
would have still been fined by his provincial
government. The time is now for provincial
leadership, and with a growing number
of pro-business Conservative provincial
governments elected, maybe it’s time
for provinces like Alberta, Ontario, New
Brunswick, and Quebec to lead the charge,
challenge the status quo and change history.
With industry and business support
and renewed media and political atten-
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