Having now passed the one year anniversary of the passing of Bill C-311, there appears to be continuing confusion by a few (deliberate or otherwise) about exactly what the Free My Grapes efforts are about.
It is not about evading taxes, it is not about evading licencing, it is not about undercutting regulation, it is not about undermining liquor boards.
Free My Grapes is about ensuring Canadian consumers being able to directly access quality Canadian wines from Canadian wineries. Provincial and territorial liquor boards can never hope to carry all of the Canadian wines now available. Yet, the producers of these products, largely small, rural, family owned businesses, need better and direct access to a larger base of Canadian consumers to be successful. If they can do so, they sell more, pay more taxes, support wine and culinary tourism that in turn generates government revenues, employs more Canadians and foster our small business sector.
These activities benefit everyone and what we do “chafe” about is the narrow-minded and outdated perspective still maintained in a few quarters of this country. The collective economic upside created can far outweigh any revenue cost that provinces think they may lose out (as has been proven in the US). It is about playing the “long game” not the “short” game.
Thankfully, two provinces, BC and Manitoba, get it. Soon, hopefully, a third will too – Nova Scotia.
We are now at 85 years since the federal legislation made it illegal to transport alcohol across provincial borders, 30 years since the advent of the Internet, 13 years into the 21st century and one year since Bill C-311 passed. It’s time to finally allow winery-to-consumer sales and shipment through out Canada.