Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan has re-introduced a motion to amend ancient legislation that prohibits sales of wine from wineries that will be taken across provincial borders.
“Canada has a robust wine industry and produces some of the best vintages in the world. It is a source of national pride. Yet, Canadians do not have easy access to those products,” he said.
Cannan is chairman of the Conservative Wine Caucus and made a similar motion during the last session of Parliament as well.
The motion has the support of the wine industry, including the B.C. Wine Institute, the Canadian Vintners’ Association and the Alliance for Canadian Wine Consumers.
A web campaign has triggered letter writing and petitions signed by consumers. It’s at freemygrapes.ca.
Cannan said he is working with colleagues Gail Shea, the minister of national revenue, and agriculture minister Gerry Ritz on the issue.
“Minister Ritz has been in contact with his provincial counterparts to gauge their interest in finding a solution that reflects the realities of modern-day business,” he said.
He said the personal exemption would enhance consumer accessibility to Canadian wine and improve marketing options and sales to a larger consumer base for this country’s wineries.
Currently, Canadian wines must be sold across provincial borders only through provincial liquor authorities.
Visitors to Okanagan wineries may not legally purchase wines and then take them back home to provinces other than B.C. under the 1928 Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act; nor may wineries ship wines directly to consumers in other provinces.
Cannan made a statement in the House of Commons Thursday regarding Motion 218, which has been placed on the Order Paper, a process leading to changing the legislation.
“Coming from the Okanagan Valley, which is home to a number of fantastic, internationally-award-winning wineries, the change would have an immediate benefit to our wine and culinary tourism sector.
“It’s the kind of move that would generate jobs and create secondary economic activity,” he said.
“Removing this interprovincial trade barrier is a win-win for Canadian wine producers and consumers,” he said.