COMMENTARY: Forget NAFTA, how about free trade within Canada ?

The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear a Crown appeal of a New Brunswick ruling overturning a ban on bringing alcohol across provincial boundaries, in a case that could change the nature of Canadian federalism. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

By Bill Kelly, Radio Host 900CHML

It’s interesting to note that while many Canadian provinces are concerned about the potential for even stricter trade barriers to American markets, many of those same provinces continue to enforce their own trade barriers and tariffs with other provinces.

Economists estimate that those cross-provincial tariffs cost us anywhere from $60 billion to $130 billion a year!

To be fair, there has been progress on relaxing inter-provincial trade barriers, but one of the most contentious issues is the sale of wine, beer and spirits.

Well, that may be about to change.

The Supreme Court will hear an appeal of what has affectionately been called “the border beer case.”

A New Brunswick man is appealing his conviction for transporting 14 cases of beer from Quebec to his New Brunswick home, just a few miles from the border.

How un-Canadian is that, eh?

Let’s face it; provincial tariffs are archaic and hurtful to our still fragile economy.

And, this isn’t just about buying cheaper beer.

Eliminating the barriers would allow wineries and microbreweries access to markets all over the country and that’s good for the economy in every province.

Before we start worrying about problematic NAFTA trade talks, let’s clean up our own mess on this side of the border.