During the Christmas season, Members of Parliament can usually count on a few gatherings which bring MPs from all parties together without the customary partisan grumblings getting in the way.
It happens in the House of Commons as well. MPs can and do work together to make changes to laws that clearly need to be changed.
In fact, if you were able to catch the debate on C-311 recently, you would have seen a House of Commons united in a common purpose.
C-311 is a private members bill tabled by my colleague Dan Albas in relation to the work we have been doing to amend the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act of 1928 (IILA).
The current legislation prevents Canadians from purchasing wine from a Canadian winery, if it means they must transport it across provincial boundaries to get it home.
Currently, wine can only cross provincial boundaries if it is first consigned to a liquor control authority.
It’s an outdated concept in today’s direct to consumer world that creates both unwanted red tape for small business and unnecessary barriers to interprovincial trade.
The world-class vineyards of the Okanagan, Fraser Valley and Vancouver and Gulf Islands are great examples of the type of small businesses that are succeeding in rural British Columbia.
These small businesses are producing world class wine, employing hundreds and have tremendous potential for further growth, especially in the agri-tourism sector in our region.
Creating a personal exemption clause in the IILA and facilitating direct to consumer purchasing will help our local wineries grow and allow Canadians from coast to coast to coast to enjoy the amazing award-winning wines we produce in this great country.
The passage of C-311 will be a win-win for everyone. The key now will be for the province to support C-311 and our local winemakers by providing a meaningful personal exemption to make the changes worthwhile.
A True Christmas Tale
Here’s a story from the CBC program Land and Sea (www.cbc.ca/landandsea ) that you must see if you can.
It’s about the generosity of strangers and reaching out to each other in a time of need.
In 2010, Newfoundland and its remote communities were hit hard by Hurricane Igor.
The plight of the people touched the women of the Rutland Seniors Centre, so much that they got to work and created a number of beautiful handmade quilts, which they sent to residents in Newfoundland by mail.
The gesture was deeply felt by the recipients: “They must have thought of us…I can’t get over people being so good like that Somebody’s thinking of you somehow,” said Ruth Ricketts, a senior citizen.
“It was good luck wasn’t it? It’s not winning a million dollars. It’s the kind of luck that involves heart and thought and soul…It makes me feel rich,” said Beverly Batten, another quilt recipient.
I can’t think of a truer Christmas story, one of kindness and friendship reaching across the miles.
I hope you will take a moment this busy time of year to go to www.cbc.ca/landandsea and have a listen. It will warm your heart. Thanks to the quilters of the Rutland Seniors Centre for your caring and compassion and thank you to all the constituents of Kelowna-Lake Country for being such a great community.
It is an honour to represent you in Parliament and I look forward to working on your behalf in the New Year.
Have a wonderful holiday season and a very Merry Christmas d an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250 470-5075.
Ron Cannan is the Conservative MP for