May 29th, 2012 / 5:40 p.m.
Alex Atamanenko British Columbia Southern Interior, BC
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to say a few words in support of Bill C-311. I would like to thank my colleague for Okanagan—Coquihalla for taking the initiative to introduce the bill.
I know there is pressure to fast-track the bill through Parliament, and I understand that. However, it should be noted that this issue is not new. The Canadian Vintners Association has been requesting more flexibility in our liquor laws for a number of years.
I became involved a few years ago. I wrote the minister on September 2010 and received a very favourable response. At the time, he mentioned that he was soliciting input from provinces and territories to enter into a consensus-building approach to explore the impact of the limitations in place under the act. Subsequently, we had more communication. It is my understanding that this was in the process.
To those who say that we need to go very quickly, I understand that. However, we should put this in context: this issue has been under consideration for a while. Theoretically, the government could have introduced legislation long ago and resolved the issue. That did not happen and we are here today debating this important bill.
Hopefully we can move it forward today. It would certainly be very appropriate if we could change this law before the summer tourist season.
Why is this bill important?
First, it would allow consumers to buy a reasonable quantity of wine directly for personal consumption. The quantity would be defined by each province.
Let us not forget that it is illegal for me, for example, to go to a winery in Ontario, buy a bottle of wine there and take that bottle home with me to British Columbia. It is absurd. – Alex Atamanenko
Okanagan Coquihalla Conservative MP Dan Albas says Bill C-311 has not been defeated, but it has been delayed, after amendments were requested as it came up for third reading Tuesday night.
The B.C. member of parliament says the bill, dubbed ‘free my grapes’, has now dropped to the bottom of the hearing list and most likely won’t resurface until early to mid-fall.
Albas blames New Democrats for what he calls a senseless and unfair assault on the Okanagan wine industry, arguing it will delay removal of trade barriers until at least next year’s growing cycle