Liberals Vote Against Conservatives' 'Free The Beer' Motion

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A Tory motion calling on the federal government to "free the beer" was shot down after Liberal MPs voted against it.

On Tuesday, Liberal and Bloc MPs voted against an opposition motion put forward by B.C. MP Dan Albas, the Tories' critic for interprovincial trade. The NDP and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May voted in favour of Albas' motion, but it was ultimately defeated 184-131.

Albas' motion was responding to a New Brunswick judge's "groundbreaking" ruling in the case of a man who was arrested for importing liquor from Quebec.

In April, Judge Ronald LeBlanc threw out all charges against Gerard Comeau for bringing in 14 cases of beer and three bottles of liquor to New Brunswick from a Quebec border town. The Canadian Constitution Foundation, which was part of Comeau's defence team, expected the case to go all the way up to the Supreme Court.

A 'priority' for the feds

Albas' motion called on the federal government to do just that. It asked the government to refer LeBlanc's ruling to the Supreme Court and recognize that Canadians have the constitutional right to trade with fellow Canadians.

"This is the largest opportunity we have to strike down a whole host of trade barriers starting with the free trade of beer, which is why we call it the free the beer campaign," Albas told Kelowna Now.

The Tories packaged Albas' motion as part of their "free the beer" campaign.

Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said referring the ruling to Canada's top court would not be effective, according to CTV News, adding that the government does not want to "pit one region against the other." However, like Albas, he believes the internal trade agreement needs to be modernized.

"It is a priority for this government, because we understand the importance of having free trade within Canada," Bains said in the House on Tuesday. "It is good for our economy, it is good for small businesses, and it is good for consumers. This will remain a priority as we continue to grow the economy."

With files from The Canadian Press

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