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\”Bootlegging\” Premiers Should Support Shipping Law Fix

Recent media reports from Ontario (see: Ontario\’s Most Prominent Bootlegger) indicate that some of Canada\’s Provincial Premiers may have broken Canada\’s archaic federal law (the 1928 Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act) that prohibits the transport or shipment of wine across provincial borders. The errant behaviour apparently occurred as a result of gifts of BC wine that were provided to the Premiers at a recent meeting held in BC. As a result of the media coverage, both the Ontario provincial government and the LCBO have claimed that it is \”perfectly acceptable\” for individuals to transport wine across provincial borders so long as they don\’t have it shipped. In my opinion, this statement is just plain wrong in law. The federal law at issue makes absolutely no distinction between the personal transport of alcohol and its shipment. Both of those actions are equally prohibited – and it is beyond the constitutional jurisdiction of a provincial liquor board to override that prohibition, particularly when done so through a \”policy\” change. The proper way to fix this problem is for the federal government to amend the 1928 law – which is, in fact, exactly what is being attempted by Bill C-311 which is currently before the House of Commons. The Provincial Premiers, including Dalton McGuinty, should be supporting this federal amendment so that all Canadians can obtain wine from other provinces legally. They should not be making statements that minimize the problem … for more information, see the analysis in this earlier article: Rule of Law Missed by Liquor Boards on Shipping Issue.

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