Since the June 15th release of MLI’s paper written by Ian Blue on interprovincial trade barriers, Free Trade within Canada: Say Goodbye to Gold Seal, it has received a lot of media attention. It appeared in the Financial Post on June 16th, in iPolitics.ca on June 17th, and in the Telegraph Journal on June 20th as part of an op-ed written by Mr. Blue based on his paper that interprovincial trade barriers violate the Constitution of Canada. It has also appeared in the Calgary Beacon and Surrey Beacon on June 17th. An excerpt below:
A purposive reading of the Constitution seems to guarantee free trade in goods between the provinces. Section 121 states: “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.”
Mr. Blue argues that section 121 on the Constitution Act 1867 was deliberately worded by the Fathers of Confederation in such a way as to guarantee free movement of goods and services across provincial borders. He shows how a single decision of the Supreme Court in 1920, the Gold Seal Limited v. The Attorney General of the Province of Alberta case, created a wrong-headed precedent that has led to severe limitations in free trade among provinces – the exact opposite of the intentions of the founders of Canada.
Blue states that “a purposeful interpretation of section 121 would not prevent appropriate government regulation.” It would, however “prohibit would-be schemes to interfere with a free interprovincial market.”
Ian Blue concludes, “There is no question from the wording, legislative history, scheme, or legislative context that section 121 is meant to create free internal trade and rightly so. Next time section 121 comes before the Supreme Court, Gold Seal should be decisively overruled and the barriers it has upheld should be dismantled.”
Read the full op-ed by Ian Blue here (PDF version)
Read MLI’s paper by Ian Blue here: Free Trade within Canada: Say Goodbye to Gold Seal