by Morinville News Staff
United Conservative Party caucus finance critics, Derek Fildebrandt and Ric McIver, released a joint statement about the NDP government losing a second court decision on its beer tax.
In October of 2015, the Government of Alberta announced it would tax beer from small brewers outside the New West Partnership (British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan) at a higher rate than similar brewers located within those provinces.
The UCP critics say Finance Minister Joe Ceci was warned “countless times that his beer tax was unconstitutional.”
“Not only did the tax violate the Agreement on Internal Trade, but it caused prices to soar and choices to drop-off for consumers,” the critics said. “To make matter worse, the NDP government imposed this tax knowing it could be shot down in the courts, freely wasting untold amounts of taxpayer dollars in legal costs.”
In a dispute between Artisan Ales Consulting Inc. and Alberta regarding beer mark-ups, the panel found in the majority that “Artisan, as well as others importing beer into Alberta or brewing beer for import into Alberta, including Saskatchewan breweries, have suffered injury due to the Measures.”
The report goes on to indicate Alberta should “repeal or amend” the Measures to bring its beer-related mark-ups and related grant programs into compliance with the Agreement on Internal Trade as soon as possible, and in no case later than six (6) months after the issuance of this Panel’s decision.
Fildebrant and McIver are hoping the panel decision will take effect.
“We hope this latest decision is the wake-up call the government needs to drop this damaging, unconstitutional tax,” the pair said.