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Political union would bring down Maritime trade barriers

["Walt's World with Walter Jones"]
Walt's World with Walter Jones

Walt's World with Walter Jones

Many months ago Quebec decided to feature a sale in their province on liquor, beer to be exact.

Campbellton, a town in New Brunswick, is only a few kilometers from Quebec and what could be more normal than people from this town deciding to cash in on these savings?

The problems began when the RCMP started pulling people over on their way home, just over the border in NB, and issuing fines to people who had made beer purchases in Quebec.

There had to be of course, one person, Gerard Comeau, who didn't think he had done anything wrong and refused to pay his fine.

He relied on the Section 121 of the 1867 constitution that says, "All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces."

So he went to court and challenged his fine. Other people have challenged this section before and lost. The reason given by the judges was that the founding fathers only meant that no custom duties should be charged.

A ridiculous ruling since no province had ever charged custom duties to another province, or colony as they were known before Confederation.

This time, however, the lower courts found in the plaintiff's favour. It has now moved into the superior court of Canada, and everyone and his dog wants to get on board.

The provinces want to challenge it because they believe it will reduce their revenue, the farmers want to challenge it because they fear it will affect their marketing boards.

Perhaps they haven't heard that President Trump wants to do away with them as part of his NAFTA negotiations. Nunavut at least had a novel reason for wanting to control alcohol coming across its borders, by stating that the consumption of alcohol was a health problem.

Provinces trying to keep other provinces from shipping goods across their borders in my opinion is wrong and short-sighted.

It is harder for businesses to sell to other provinces, than it is to sell to other countries. One thing that would help in this area is a political union between our three provinces. Erase the borders. We have mayors of large cities governing more people at a whole lot less cost. Does it really take 10 times the people to govern and provide services to a third less of the people?

If the politicians are serious about saving taxpayers dollars, and I for one don't think they are, they would embrace a political union. A political union will only happen when the voters put pressure on the politicians.

So to all you people who like to complain about high taxes, here is your challenge - less government means less taxes.


Walter Jones column appears weekly in the Amherst News.

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