Campbellton lawyer fights border beer limits
Mikael Bernard's crusade against 'outdated' law comes as NB Liquor increases beer prices
A Campbellton lawyer is fighting what he calls an outdated law that limits the amount of liquor New Brunswickers can bring across the border from another province.
Mikael Bernard's crusade is timely, given the recent NB Liquor 50-cent price increase on a 12-pack of beer, which may have New Brunswickers looking to stock up elsewhere.
For Campbellton residents, that means making the trip just a kilometre away, to Pointe-à-la-Croix, Que.
But under the current law, the maximum amount of alcohol that can be legally imported into New Brunswick from another province is one bottle of wine or hard liquor, or 12 pints of beer, which is about 18 bottles or cans.
Offenders are subject to an automatic fine of $292.50 and their liquor is seized and destroyed.
The last decision on point dates back to 1928, so it's been ages. And it's back during the prohibition period, so it will be interesting to see in this day and age, how the court feels.- Mikael Bernard, lawyer
Bernard is representing three people who are charged with having more than their limit.
"The last decision on point dates back to 1928, so it's been ages. And it's back during the prohibition period, so it will be interesting to see in this day and age, how the court feels," said Bernard, who is offering his services pro bono to anyone who wants to fight their importing charges.
His three clients are scheduled to appear in court in September.
Meanwhile, many Campbellton residents will continue to buy their booze in Quebec.
"It's a little more economical," said Doreen Tate.
In some cases, it's almost half the price — and getting better after the recent NB Liquor increase.
"I think if they wanna compete with Quebec, they're doing the wrong thing," said Campbellton resident Jim Adams.
"If they want the prices to be comparable, then they're going to have to match the prices over there."
Quebec store owners approached by CBC News said many of their customers come from New Brunswick. But none of them would agree to an interview because they said they fear speaking out would only lead to a raid, or more scrutiny for their customers or their business.