Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com sit
Tuesday of this week was the first day of Committee Stage review for my Private Members Bill C-311. Committee Stage review is an opportunity for industry experts and related stakeholders to sit down with an all party panel of Parliamentarians to discuss the merits and concerns of proposed legislation. This was a particularly interesting day for me as to date the Bill, calling for an end to wine prohibition in Canada, has had overwhelming support not just all party support in the House of Commons, but also all across Canada as I have heard from many Canadians who strongly believe in the principle that free trade in wine should not be a crime.
Although the issue of wine prohibition is well-known in my region, I would like to share a portion of the comments from Mr. Hanspeter Stutz, who shared his thoughts on this issue from the perspective of a Nova Scotia wine maker. I believe Mr.Stutz summarizes this issue very well…..
“The local farm area in Nova Scotia disposes of around 50,000 acres of unused farmland. The prices are still reasonable, because there is no shortage yet. The opportunities in Nova Scotia are obvious when you consider the following comparison of the cost of land: One acre of farmland in Nova Scotia costs between $2,500 and $4,000 dollars.
One acre of farmland in Switzerland is between a rocketing $30 thousand and $50 thousand dollars.
Of course, we could grow vineyards along the north mountain, about 50 kilometres in length, but the question would come up very quickly, where could we sell ail this additional wine with a Nova Scotia population of approximately one million people?
This point is underscored by the present barriers we face as wine producers to sell our products in other provinces. It is easier for our winery to ship 20 cases of wine to Beijing, Germany, Dubai or Switzerland, than one case to our neighbour, New Brunswick. “ - Hanspeter Stutz
I have to sincerely thank all members of the Finance Committee for taking the time to review Bill C-311 and hear the comments from all parties involved. It was also very encouraging to hear such an enthusiastic response from the Nova Scotia Wine Industry, local British Columbia wine legend Harry McWatters and the Canadian Vintners Association who all spoke very positively in support of the Bill. As review stage continues I will share further updates as they emerge.
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