Main menu:

History of RPE Thought

Posts by Tag

RSS New from the CCPA

  • CCPA's National Office has moved! May 11, 2018
      The week of May 1st, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' National Office moved to 141 Laurier Ave W, Suite 1000, Ottawa ON, K1P 5J2. Please note that our phone, fax and general e-mail will remain the same: Telephone: 613-563-1341 | Fax: 613-233-1458 | Email: ccpa@policyalternatives.ca  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • What are Canada’s energy options in a carbon-constrained world? May 1, 2018
    Canada faces some very difficult choices in maintaining energy security while meeting emissions reduction targets.  A new study by veteran earth scientist David Hughes—published through the Corporate Mapping Project, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute—is a comprehensive assessment of Canada’s energy systems in light of the need to maintain energy security and […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The 2018 Living Wage for Metro Vancouver April 25, 2018
    The cost of raising a family in British Columbia increased slightly from 2017 to 2018. A $20.91 hourly wage is needed to cover the costs of raising a family in Metro Vancouver, up from $20.61 per hour in 2017 due to soaring housing costs. This is the hourly wage that two working parents with two young children […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Mobility pricing must be fair and equitable for all April 12, 2018
    As Metro Vancouver’s population has grown, so have its traffic congestion problems. Whether it’s a long wait to cross a bridge or get on a bus, everyone can relate to the additional time and stress caused by a transportation system under strain. Mobility pricing is seen as a solution to Metro Vancouver’s transportation challenges with […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Budget 2018: The Most Disappointing Budget Ever March 14, 2018
    Premier Pallister’s Trump-esque statement that budget 2018 was going to be the “best budget ever” has fallen a bit flat. Instead of a bold plan to deal with climate change, poverty and our crumbling infrastructure, we are presented with two alarmist scenarios to justify further tax cuts and a lack of decisive action: the recent […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Progressive Bloggers

Meta

Recent Blog Posts

Posts by Author

Recent Blog Comments

The Progressive Economics Forum

The Colour of Margarine in Quebec

As reported yesterday and today, the Government of Quebec has lifted its ban on margarine coloured to look like butter and the province’s dairy farmers do not seem inclined to put up much of a fight.

This story has provided excellent fodder for witty headline writers:

Can’t believe it’s not yellow?” – Globe and Mail

Quebec margarine goes mellow yellow” – National Post

Quebec spreads word that margarine battle over” – Toronto Star

I think that it also has a couple of important implications.

First, the prophets of doom about Canada’s supposed internal trade crisis will be scrambling to find another example now that the one bonafide inter-provincial trade barrier is gone. Get ready to hear a lot more about the size of cream containers and dimension requirements for trucks.

Second, it’s worth emphasizing that the margarine issue was resolved by the Quebec government simply removing the restriction, rather than by some TILMA-style tribunal imposing a fine or by the federal government invoking its much-vaunted trade and commerce power. This episode undermines proposals for some new sweeping, legalistic approach to address inter-provincial barriers. Quebec has demonstrated that, as Marc and I have argued all along, it’s possible to kill flies with flyswatters rather than with sledgehammers.

For those intrigued by the margarine issue itself, Karen Hawthorne has posted an interesting history. In 1950, the Supreme Court ruled that margarine was an area of provincial jurisdiction. I think that this decision helps explain why the inter-provincial margarine issue persisted, even though the courts have consistently struck down inter-provincial trade barriers in other areas.

Enjoy and share:

Comments

Comment from Alex
Time: July 9, 2008, 1:36 pm

As a student at SFU, I’ve written and tried to do a bit of organizing on the TILMA issue. Just so you know, I attempted to get a concrete list of these “barriers” from the BC government (as you folks have mentioned on this blog that you’ve tried to do, at various points).

I eventually received an response to my message, with Colin Hansen’s name at the bottom. But, alas, there was no list, nor a reference to one.

Write a comment





Related articles