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New Brunswick resident Gérard Comeau, buying beer at a store in Quebec on April 29, 2016. Many Canadians consider him a hero for going all the way to the Supreme Court to challenge interprovincial restrictions on buying cheaper beer and alcohol in one province and taking it home to consume in another.Serge Bouchard/The Globe and Mail

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Only in Canada

Re A Nation Weeps In Its Expensive Beer (April 20): Glad to see your sensible editorial; most of your readers will be equally frustrated.

Just when we think we are on the brink of world-class nationhood, nine of the allegedly best minds in the country decide that provincial tribalism, in the guise of interprovincial trade barriers, should take precedence over equal treatment for all Canadians.

In all of this sad episode, our thanks should go to Gérard Comeau. He tried.

Dave Ashby, Toronto


As if British Columbia’s intransigence over the Kinder Morgan pipeline were not evidence enough, the unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court against “permitting” interprovincial free trade in liquor and alcoholic beverages – which should never have been prohibited in the first place – sadly confirms it: Canada is not a real country but merely a North American version of the Balkans, in danger of disintegrating, almost at any moment.

One looks in vain for our virtue-signalling Prime Minister to speak out, much less to act forcefully in Canada’s national interest. The only reason I am not now crying into my beer – an imported brand by the way, it being easier to obtain at my local LCBO than suds brewed in the other nine provinces and three territories – is that the response to the Humboldt Broncos tragedy proved that there really is such a commonality as Canada after all.

It is too bad that none of our political and judicial elites actually appear to believe in it.

Edward Ozog, Brantford, Ont.


It’s official: Pricey beer and booze and limited choice are in the national interest.

Only in Canada, eh? Pity.

Moira Simpson O’Neill, Halifax


The rest of us know what “admitted free” between provinces means. It takes a court and lawyers to find it ambiguous.

John Cocker, Stouffville, Ont.


The Constitution is not the culprit in beer prices. Beer is unreasonably expensive across Canada because of greedy provincial governments, with some help from Ottawa. For example, federal and provincial taxes account for nearly 50 per cent of the consumer price for beer, and about 80 per cent of the final price for spirits. If a loaf of bread were subject to the same burden, it would cost more than $10. Compliant Canadians.

Tim Jeffery, Toronto

So deliciously Canadian

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is my new political hero. Her proposed bill to limit oil and gas shipments to B.C. brilliantly exposes the hypocrisy of the anti-pipeline protesters, the duplicity of the federal government in its simultaneous pursuit of fossil-fuel development and climate-change goals, the impotence of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the unconstitutional and wrong-headed opposition by B.C. Premier John Horgan.

Should Alberta be successful in limiting fossil fuel shipments to B.C., prices at the pump this summer could exceed $2 a litre. If gas stations were to be forced into rotating closures, it ironically would be one of the few things that would actually reduce emissions in British Columbia. Something Mr. Horgan would support? But wait, this is the same man who has asked the Prime Minister “do something” about high gas prices. This political imbroglio is so deliciously Canadian.

We are all complicit in the enjoyment of this fossil-fuel party, which has given us unprecedented growth and prosperity. Nobody really wants to give this up, not even me, a self-described “postcarbon pioneer” who rides a bicycle everywhere and grows my own food (actually my farmer wife does that, I help).

James van Hemert, Cowichan Bay, B.C.


Alberta’s annual budget proudly states “Alberta maintains the lowest overall tax regime in Canada, with no provincial sales tax, health premium or payroll tax. Albertans across all income ranges will continue to pay the lowest overall taxes when compared to other provinces. Alberta’s tax advantage is $11.2-billion in 2018-19.”

Bravo, Alberta. But surely it could use that $11.2-billion to pay for health, education and social services – since it argues it desperately needs the revenue from the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to pay for … health, education and social services.

Alberta states on its Keep Canada Working website that the B.C. government is putting the Canadian environment at risk, so I know it really cares about the environment. That said, “the oil sands have been the fastest growing source of GHGs [greenhouse gases] in the country since 2000” and the Alberta government’s climate plan “would still allow oil sands emissions to increase by 47.5 per cent above 2014 levels” (End Of The Line, April 14).

That just doesn’t sound good for the environment.

So, Alberta might want to consider implementing a new GHG-free (and B.C.-free) approach to solving its money problems. Instead of dealing with pipeline court challenges, protesters and the roller-coaster price of oil, it could join the rest of Canada and sign up for a sales tax.

Wayne Robbins, Toronto

Mali? Unconvinced

Re Make Mali About Peacekeeping, Not Politics (April 19): Only the most loyal supporters of the current government could fail to see this as anything but a token, cherry-picked effort in order to gather support for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wish for Canada to seek a rotating seat on the UN Security Council.

There is a certain synergy in the fact that the PM is promoting the deployment of a seemingly ineffective contribution to a conflict that appears to have very little chance of a positive outcome, in order to gain an essentially powerless position in an institution that chronically provides very little in way of effective results.

Maximum perceived value, with little actual benefit. Even the most naive citizen would conclude that this “modest proposal” doesn’t pass the sniff test.

Rick Inman, Mississauga

Her son Charles

Re Queen Urges Prince Charles’s Ascension (April 20): Though a foreign monarch, Queen Elizabeth has served Canada with grace and distinction, exemplifying both moral integrity and wise constitutional statecraft. Her son Charles has failed to demonstrate either moral integrity (e.g. his very public extramarital affair) or wise constitutional statecraft (e.g. his “black spider” memos to public servants). Charles is not worthy to be head of the Commonwealth; he certainly should never be King of Canada.

Just say No to Charles.

David Beattie, Chelsea, Que.


If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau believes that the head of the Commonwealth should be kept within the Royal Family, a better approach would be to alternate it between Prince Charles and Princess Anne, with each serving for an alternating term. If Princess Anne is not interested, it should go to the most senior woman in the line of succession who is over a specified age, say 35.

Bruce Couchman, Ottawa

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