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Comeau Case: The Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday

Montreal, April 16, 2018 – This Thursday, the Supreme Court will hand down a historic decision that could revolutionize the Canadian economy by helping to bring down many trade barriers between the provinces.

“The highest court in the land could overturn a ruling on interprovincial trade which dates back to the 1920s and which is absolutely no longer adapted to the Canadian reality today. It could be a great victory for Canadians,” explains Michel Kelly-Gagnon, President and CEO of the MEI.

This decision could lead to significant progress for free trade in this country. Not only could it call into question the provinces’ alcohol monopolies, but many other trade barriers could also disappear. If the Court maintains the status quo, it will have missed a historic occasion to free the Canadian economy from its numerous trade irritants.

“As Canada renegotiates NAFTA with the United States and Mexico in order to preserve the benefits that free trade brings all Canadians, it makes perfect sense for Canadians to be able to trade freely with one another. This verdict, in addition to saving Canadians tens of billions of dollars a year, could also help to avoid trade wars between provinces like the one still making headlines between Alberta and British Columbia,” adds Howard Anglin, Executive Director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation.

Recall that Gerard Comeau, a New Brunswick resident, was stopped five years ago for having “imported” too much alcohol from Quebec. Fined by the police, he contested the charge and won his case before the Provincial Court of New Brunswick, which struck down a law dating back to the era of Prohibition that is contrary to the spirit of Confederation.

“The ruling that will be announced on Thursday is a golden opportunity to get rid of these harmful rules that have dogged us for too long, to reform the Canadian economy and unite the country, at last, under a single, pan-Canadian common market, which would have an extraordinary effect on provincial economies,” adds Marco Navarro-Génie, President and CEO of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

The MEI, the Canadian Constitution Foundation, and the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies joined forces in recent months and intervened in this legal battle in order to defend the freedom to trade of all Canadians, from coast to coast to coast.

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The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit research and educational organization. Through its studies and its conferences, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing wealth-creating reforms based on market mechanisms.

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Interview requests: Pascale Déry, Vice President, Communications and Development, MEI / Tel.: 514-273-0969 ext. 2233 / Cell.: 514-502-6757 / Email: pdery@iedm.org

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