Supreme Court’s beer decision will let B.C. block pipeline

There will be no one happier with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision on the Comeau case about taking beer across provincial boundaries that B.C.’s NDP Premier John Horgan.

I’m not saying Horgan is against citizens grabbing a case of suds and bringing it home from another province, but in crafting their decision to keep that act illegal, the court gave Horgan the arguments he needs to block the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

The argument for freeing the beer was that section 121 of the constitution clearly states that goods can flow freely from one province to the next. Yet the court said that provincial laws can stop that free flow or hinder it if the laws designed to do so have as their essence and purpose, a different act such as health.

Stand-alone laws that have the effect of restricting trade across provincial boundaries will not violate s. 121 if their primary purpose is not to impede trade, but some other purpose. Thus a law that prohibits liquor crossing a provincial boundary for the primary purpose of protecting the health and welfare of the people in the province would not violate s. 121.

Now take that and apply it to British Columbia’s fight against the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

Section 92 of the constitution is clear, pipelines are a federal responsibility and wholly within the federal jurisdiction. Or at least they were.

In their endorsement of cooperative federalism over the plain meaning of the law, the court has given Horgan all he needs to not only argue but win. He and his government claim that they are concerned about the health of British Columbians, about the environment and all he needs to do is make that case, quote the court back to itself.

The Supreme Court has boxed itself and the federal government in here. They were so determined not to rock the boat when it came to the possible impact of the Comeau case on things like supply management that they failed to see what they were setting themselves up for.




  1. It also allows Alberta to cut off B.C. from gas diesel and other products. Things are going to get far far worse out here, and may never get better. Our only hope is for RECALL to start in 6 months, to toss targeted MLAs, and the Speaker, from office. Welcome to Mexico North, land of corrupt courts

  2. Time for Alberta to pipe their oil south, and if the federal government tries to interject – time for Alberta to leave confederation and take its billions of dollars with it. After 50 years of the crap – WE.ARE.FED.UP.

  3. The Supreme Court hasn’t really boxed itself in – they’re lawyers, they’ll still find ways to excuse making exceptions to their own precedents when they want to. But they have boxed the country in. You are right, lower courts will have to let Horgan let his envirofascist supporters have their way, and if any party (Alberta’s NDP government will give up) does try to take it back up the chain to the Supreme Court, it will take so long Kinder Morgan will be long gone.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. In blocking beer, Supreme Court shows Horgan the path to block the pipeline – Small Dead Animals
  2. Trudeau and co. threaten Saskatchewan while rewarding B.C.

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