1. The Conservative government is backing a proposal by a B.C. backbencher, Dan Albas to allow Canadians to buy wine outside their province and take it home.
2. NDP MP Malcolm Allen says the party has offered to let Albas trade his next private members’ business slot for one of their MPs’ time so they can get the bill passed.
It’s currently illegal, with a few exceptions, to carry alcohol over interprovincial boundaries. Tory MP Albas, who represents Okanagan-Coquihalla, introduced Bill C-311 on Oct. 3, 2011.
The bill allow people to import wine for personal use from one province to another, as long as it conforms with the laws of the province in which it ends up.
The law was created during the prohibition era when alcohol consumption was banned.
1. Gail Shea, national revenue minister, announced the government’s support for the bill on Tuesday. She said the current law stifles the growth of Canada’s wine industry.
Changing the law, Albas says, gets the federal government out of the way and allows for individual provinces to consult with their industry and consumers to set their own laws.
Right now, it’s hard for small wineries to sell to provincial liquor boards because they can’t produce enough, but they’re only able to sell within their own province. Albas pointed to a B.C. winery that does a lot of business with China because it can’t sell to Canadians outside the province.
“I think most people would say that that’s not okay,” Albas said.
The bill was debated Tuesday and will return for a vote the next time it comes up on the House agenda, likely in late September or October, after time ran out to hold a vote on it.
Albas says he’s disappointed it didn’t go to a vote last night, accusing the NDP of stalling the bill.
2. The NDP say there was a “miscommunication” about parliamentary procedure and that they didn’t intend to talk out the time allotted. NDP MP Malcolm Allen says the party has offered to let Albas trade his next private members’ business slot for one of their MPs’ time so they can get the bill passed. Albas says he’s only had an informal offer so far.
Allen says because liquor control falls under provincial control, federal politicians would have to talk to their counterparts before moving to repeal the whole prohibition, which now includes several exemptions.
“We’re in a sort of place where we can repeal this particular part of it and the wineries and vintners are all very supportive of that particular piece that allows them to do some selling and marketing across provincial boundaries and enhance their businesses,” he said.
“That’s satisfactory for them. So that was the whole reason to make sure that we made this first step.”
Picture supplied by wikipedia – Thanks to the CBC for their files.