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Canada Harper slams ‘ridiculous’ laws against cross-province alcohol transport

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper arrives at a campaign stop in Ottawa on Monday.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Stephen Harper says laws that prohibit people from taking alcohol across provincial borders are "ridiculous."

He says that's why the Conservative government brought in legislation allowing the practice — a private members bill nicknamed "Free My Grapes" became law in 2012 allowing for wine to cross borders, followed by additional changes in 2014 that freed up beer and liquor as well.

But it all requires legislation at the provincial level and not all provinces have the same regulations.

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Harper was asked about the issue at a campaign rally Monday, following the end last week of a New Brunswick trial on the issue.

Gerard Comeau was charged with illegally importing 14 cases of beer and three bottles of liquor from a Quebec border town in October 2012 and fined close to $300.

His lawyers argue the law is unconstitutional, but the judge isn't expected to rule until next year.

Harper, known more for his fondness for soft drinks than for alcohol, urged provinces to rethink their laws.

"My personal view and the view of our government is that's ridiculous," Harper said of the ban.

"That's why we brought in federal legislation that does require mirror legislation at the provincial level, a couple of provinces have proceeded with similar legislation, not all have.

"But obviously I would in my campaign mode, non-partisan way, urge all provinces to adopt that legislation."

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