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Canadian Wine Law Reform Back on Track

On Tuesday, there was a historic opportunity for the House of Commons to vote on and pass Bill C-311 which would amend the 80 year old law that prohibits the inter-provincial shipment of alcohol so as to allow the shipment of wine in certain circumstances (a personal use exemption). The passage of this Bill would provide great benefits to Canada\’s thriving wine industry and to Canadian wine consumers who have long suffered under a prohibition era rule which makes it illegal for them to order wine from another place within their own country. The Bill was thought to have all party support and the wine industry was excited that finally it would be rid of an archaic law which has no place in modern society. Unfortunately, the historic opportunity to fix this was delayed when a number of federal NDP MPs created a fillibuster and used up all of the time allotted for the Bill, thus preventing the vote (see story: BC wineries shackled by NDP MPs). Since the House will break for summer recess shortly, any further progress in the Bill could have been delayed until at least the Fall. Fortunately, Nova Scotia Liberal MP, Scott Brison, stepped in to save the day by providing more time for Bill C-311 next week on June 6th. The NDP has subsequently apologized for the fillibuster, claiming that it arose from a \”communications error\”. Happily, it now appears that all-party support has been restored and that the Bill will pass next week and head to the Senate. The Globe provides coverage of the story here: Proposed Changes to Wine Law Back on Table in Ottawa and CBC also has this story: Canadian Wine May Flow More Freely if MPs Get Their Way.

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