NEWS RELEASE: One year later for Bill C-311

One year later – what are you waiting for? On June 28, 2012, the federal government rectified an eighty-four year old, prohibition-era law that made it a criminal offence for Canadians to carry or ship wine across provincial borders. Parliament’s support for Bill C-311 was unanimous and we thank all the parties in both the House and Senate for taking this important step towards freeing Canadian wine from this archaic legislation. FreeMyGrapes, a national non-profit founded by wine lovers who want access to all Canadian wines, also congratulates the leadership shown by British Columbia and Manitoba to permit their citizens to order wine directly from out of province wineries. Last December, we were hopeful that Nova Scotia would also become a leader in supporting Canadian wines when it passed enabling legislation, yet seven months later, the regulations are still in limbo. Hopefully, this situation will change soon. Unfortunately, the fears we expressed during the Parliament and Senate hearings on Bill C-311 have proven true. The federal legislation’s caveat “in quantities and as permitted by the laws of the latter province” has created a large I-can-do-nothing loophole. The latest update by Winelaw’s Mark Hicken highlights how eleven provinces/territories are still dragging their feet. While many have stated that they now allow individuals to physically carry a set amount of wine into the province for personal use, this policy change is of little value. We all know it has been a common practice for decades, with literally no enforcement. Adult Canadians want out-of-province wineries to direct ship to them, which was confirmed by a 2012 – Harris/Decima poll that showed 82 percent of Canadians believe they should be able to access wine from another province through online […]

By |June 27th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

What are you waiting for? #FreeMyGrapes now!

One year later, Canadian grapes still aren’t free. This Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the unanimous passage of Bill C-311, a private members’ bill, courtesy of MP Dan Albas, that was meant to “free my grapes”. It might interest Canadian wine lovers to know that, for the vast majority of the country, it is still illegal to ship wine — Canadian wine — to another province. As lawyer Mark Hicken remarked in a recent media interview, imagine if wineries from Bordeaux couldn’t ship wine to Paris. There would be a riot. But this is the situation we’re in, one year after the passage of the Bill commonly referred to as the “free my grapes” Bill. What’s the hold up? Each province is interpreting Bill C-311 in its own manner. Kudos to BC, the first province to open up provincial borders. You can bring a case back to BC, as long as its Canadian wine. Manitoba has stepped up, and changes are in the works for a couple of Maritime provinces. But, this is all open to interpretation. Each province is making its own rules. Frankly, several seem to be stuck in the Prohibition era, and have turned a blind eye to Bill C-311. This, despite a Harris-Decima poll that shows more than 80 percent of Canadians want provincial borders open to our own wine. Imagine, if you will, if it was illegal for Nova Scotia lobster to leave its home province. Or if Saskatchewan wheat was held up at the Alberta border. It’s up to the wine drinkers to take action. During this anniversary week, take moment to contact your political representatives and tell them it’s time to uphold the spirit of Bill C-311. […]

By |June 26th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments
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