Conservatives critical of CFTA position on alcohol

by Morinville News Staff

Conservative Interprovincial Trade Critic MP John Barlow has tabled Bill C-351, An Act to amend the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act and the Excise Act, 2001 (importation). Bill C-351 is in response to the Government of Canada’s Interprovincial Trade Deal announced last week.

Although the Conservatives say they had high hopes for the Canada Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) announced last Friday, they say many Canadians were disappointed when they found out it contains hundreds of exemptions, including alcohol.

“The Liberal government had an opportunity to stand up for these businesses, but they failed by increasing taxes and agreeing to leave alcohol out of the Canada Free Trade Agreement,” Barlow said in a rleease Tuesday. “It’s completely unacceptable.”

The Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act restricts the ability for producers to sell outside their own province unless they are granted permission by a liquor board of another province.

Federal Budget 2017 includes a 2 per cent increase in the excise tax with an escalator clause. The Conservatives say alcohol producers will see an annual tax increase, something they believe will put many Canadian brewers, distillers, and vineyards at risk of closing.

“It’s absolutely crazy to me that I can’t buy an Alberta craft beer, a Canadian product, when I’m in Ottawa,” Barlow said. “It’s a shame our archaic system stifles the growth of local business and the Canadian economy. Many of these craft breweries, distilleries and vineyards are providing much needed economic opportunities in rural communities across Canada.”

The Conservatives say Bill C-351’s proposed changes would give consumers a greater choice, improve market access for Canadian alcohol producers, and grow the Canadian economy through the creation of thousands of new jobs.

If passed, Bill C-351 would allow producers to sell their product directly to consumers anywhere in Canada without permission of a provincial liquor board. It would also allow a person to transport alcohol from one province to another for personal use.

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