Canadians are unequivocal: 89% think they should be allowed to bring any legally purchased product from one province to another, according to an Ipsos poll commissioned by the MEI, the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF), and the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS).

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The survey was carried out in the context of the Comeau case, which will be heard Dec. 6 and Dec. 7 by the Supreme Court. The court will decide if Canadians have the right to transport legally purchased goods, including alcohol, from one province to another. If the court rules that they do have this right, provincial alcohol monopolies will face some competition, and many provincial trade barriers could disappear.

Retiree Gerard Comeau from Tracadie, N.B. was stopped five years ago because he brought home bottles of alcohol purchased in Quebec, in violation of an outdated provincial law. Fined by the police, he fought back and won his case. The provincial government appealed, and the case is now before the Supreme Court.

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A study published in the Canadian Journal of Economics estimates that internal trade liberalization could add $50 billion to $130 billion to Canada’s overall GDP, the MEI release said. Using a mid-range estimate of $100 billion, these economic gains represent more than $2,700 per Canadian.

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Here are some additional poll results.

  • 78% of Canadians say they should be allowed to bring any amount of beer or wine they buy in one province into another province; 8% of Canadians disagree.
  • 84% think they should be allowed to order wine directly from a winery located in another province.
  • Very few think that provincial governments should be allowed to impose restrictions against goods from other provinces to protect their own industries (16%), or to collect more revenues (12%).

About the survey: A sample of 1,103 Canadians were surveyed between Oct 26. and Nov 1.