Campbellton — After a Tracadie man was brought up on charges of illegally importing liquor into the province from Quebec, every single New Brunswicker has fessed up to doing the same thing at one point or another.
George Cloutier found out the hard way just how archaic the province’s liquor laws really are when he was caught and charged under the New Brunswick Liquor Control Act for bringing 14 cases of beer and 3 bottles of liquor from Pointe-à-la-Croix, Que., back across the bridge to Campbellton, N.B.
Cloutier, one of 17 New Brunswickers caught saving money on beer on Oct. 6, 2012, was fined $292.50. And now, every New Brunswick resident must send a cheque or money order for the same amount to RCMP headquarters, or promise to spend that much at NB Liquor in the coming week.
“The law exists for a reason,” said NB Liquor executive Norris Haines. “If New Brunswickers don’t spend half their paycheque at the liquor store right here at home, the province is flat broke. Frankly, I think Cloutier got what he deserved.”
That law, which allows only 18 bottles or cans to be brought into New Brunswick from other provinces, was virtually unknown before this case, and with the price of Quebec beer being so low, pretty well everyone with an ID has unwittingly become a criminal.
Premier Brian Gallant, being a New Brunswicker, was one of the people charged. “This is ridiculous,” scoffed Gallant. “NB Liquor prices are exorbitant — I can’t afford to buy a 24-pack every weekend when it could run me 40 bucks. Me and the cabinet ministers drive up to Campbellton about once a month on a beer run and it’s never been a problem before.”
A Manatee reporter spoke with Monctonian Peggy Beattie, one of the more than 700,000 people who came clean about her illegal activity. “Everyone does it,” she said while signing her cheque made out to “those prohibition-loving dicks who just live to rob us blind” and sighing in fury. “I mean, I’m not about to let Cloutier go down for this alone, but still, this is like half my rent money I’m giving away.”
“Just because ‘everyone does it’ and it’s supposedly ‘constitutional’ doesn’t mean it’s OK in the eyes of the law,” said Reggie Davenport, RCMP constable and longtime prohibition-loving dick. “I hope New Brunswick learns its lesson — that lesson being that no matter what, people in this province will always have to pay way more for liquor than anywhere else, submit to NB Liquor’s weirdly specific hours, and forget about ever being able to buy a can of beer in a convenience store.”
As our reporter left, Davenport was diligently leafing through a copy of the Liquor Act in search of some outdated law that forbids independent breweries from staying in operation.