Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on June 28, 2013.
Currently there are two bottles of BC’s finest VQA wine in an undisclosed location (in order to protect the safety of the bottles) somewhere in Ontario at this very moment. Why you ask? This wine was a gift from Premier Christy Clark to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to encourage the Ontario Government to embrace the true spirit of Bill C-311 and support the Canadian wine industry by allowing the direct to consumer inter-provincial shipment of wine. You might be forgiven in asking why I have these bottles and why Premier Clark didn’t simply use FedEx Canada’s new wine shipping program instead. After all, the Premier of British Columbia directly shipping BC wine to the Premier of Ontario is perfectly legal now that Bill C-311 has been amended. In other words the nearly 85-year-old prohibition era Federal legislation that once made such shipping illegal is no more. It should also be pointed out that Premier Wynne could send a bottle of Ontario VQA wine directly to Premier Clark (or for that matter Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger) just not the opposite in return. At least according to Ontario Government restrictions. In spite of Bill C-311 passing one year ago the Ontario Government and LCBO liquor monopoly continue to cling with an archaic policy that only allows importation into Ontario “in person”.
This is where my having this wine comes in. In order for Premier Clark to satisfy Ontario Government restrictions, a bottle of BC wine cannot be directly sent Premier to Premier. First these two bottles of wine must be directly imported “ìn person” into the Province of Ontario. This entailed my physically transporting the wine into Ontario from British Columbia, a task now complete. Clearly in today’s day and age the inefficiency of this process can be summed up as little more than regulatory red tape that stands as an obstacle to the Canadian wine industry that remains largely dominated by foreign produced wines. I submit this is wrong on far too many levels to discuss in this particular thread. Back to the point, I would like to commend Premier Christy Clark for sending these premium bottles of BC VQA to Premier Wynne and I trust at some point in the near future Premier Wynne will find time to accept this generous offering. As we approach Canada Day and Bill C-311 has now reached the one year anniversary from receiving Royal Assent, I am reminded of the grassroots Free My Grapes movement who advocated that free trade in Canadian wine should not be a crime. Let us hope the Ontario Government will support the Canadian wine industry along with consumers by fully support the spirit of Bill C-311 with direct to consumer legislation as is currently supported by British Columbia, Manitoba, and in process at Nova Scotia.
Visit any Government liquor store this weekend and look at the amount of foreign wines compared to Canadian wines available for sale. Next think of the hundreds of small family wineries across Canada that simply cannot meet the scales of production for Government run liquor retailing. Direct to consumer sales and shipping of wine is how we can best grow our Canadian wine industry and support our regional economies. It’s the right thing to do. Over to you Premier Wynne.
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