With the stroke of the governor general’s pen, Conservative MP Dan Albas’s bill to eliminate the federal ban on transporting wine across provincial borders became law Thursday.
Shirley-Anne George, with the Canadian Alliance of Wine Consumers, says the prohibition-era rule never made sense to her.
“Can you imagine somebody in France saying that a Parisian could not order a case of wine from Burgundy?” George said. “So why is it acceptable here?”
The bill is especially important for small wineries that want to sell directly to consumers nationally.
There are far more reforms needed to Canadian liquor laws, advocates say, despite a federal change that was meant to make it easier for wine lovers to import the product from other provinces.
Bill C-311, sponsored by B.C. MP Dan Albas, became law on Thursday, making it legal under federal law to take wine from one province to another. But the law specifies that it’s limited according to the law in the province to which the wine is being imported.
Those laws vary, and in some places aren’t at all clear, said Mark Hicken, a lawyer specializing in wine law.
And the bill only addressed wine, not beer or spirits:
There’s a much bigger problem for craft brewers than single consumers crossing borders, said Beauchesne, who is trying to break out of his home province. Beau’s Vankleek Hill, Ont., location is about an hour from Montreal and 20 kilometres from the Quebec border, but it’s been next to impossible to get his beer to restaurants or into the province’s SAQ liquor stores. Different regulations make it difficult for brewers in either province to cross the border.