An Act to amend the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (interprovincial importation of wine for personal use)
Dan Albas Conservative
Introduced as a private member’s bill.
This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.
- June 6, 2012 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
April 25th, 2013 / 12:40 p.m.
As an Individual
It's fantastic. I'm heading to Edmonton on Friday and the first place I'll go is to my local wine store because, first of all, I see brands there that I would never see anywhere else. It's astonishing how robust the wine shops are in Alberta. I applaud them wholeheartedly. It's the way B.C. should be. I think we'll all get there at some point—maybe not Ontario. But the fact remains that it's a great example of what you can do with an industry. That's why I cannot believe the Alberta government is saying no, that they won't honour Bill C-311. It's stupefying. We still haven't come up with an answer as to why they have done that.
I would like to congratulate the restaurants in Montreal, by the way, who are pouring more and more B.C. wines. It's a great combination, really good wine and really good food.
April 25th, 2013 / 12:10 p.m.
Terry David Mulligan As an Individual
Thank you so much for including me in this discussion.
I doubt I'll need 10 minutes.
My take on this is different from all the other folks you've heard from, except for Shirley-Ann. I'm not a corporate type of person, but I do have information that I think would be of interest to you.
I've been hosting Tasting Room Radio, a weekly one-hour food and wine-driven show that started in the Okanagan. It's heard province-wide in Alberta, throughout the Okanagan, and in Vancouver, Victoria, and Vancouver Island.
Not only do I conduct the interviews with the winemakers, growers, and principals of the wineries, but I also edit the interviews. As a result, I listen to them over and over again, shortening them down to a proper size. The information that comes from listening to their saying what they have to say is information that I want to impart to you today.
Two years ago, as a media observer, I attended a meeting at the very beginning of the Vancouver International Wine Festival. I was stunned when I listened to the conversations in the room. The top winemakers, small and large, along with some of the principals and owners, were all having the same conversation they'd had for years. They asked, "How do we get our wines across Canada, how do we work with the liquor boards, and how do we not live under the dark cloud that is the threat of the liquor boards?" This was simply because none of them could stand up and challenge the liquor boards across the country because their products would mysteriously disappear from the shelves.
I realized that they were in a bind, that they wanted to say something, and that they wanted to change the liquor laws that were written in 1928 during Prohibition. Because I had no affiliation with any winery, I stood up and I said, "I'll go".
Then along came the Banff Food and Wine Festival, and I went to the border. I wrote to the liquor control board offices in Victoria as well as to their headquarters in Edmonton and said, "This is what I'm doing and why". I had lunch with the RCMP—they bought—and then I went to the border. The only people who met me there were the media, God bless them. They got the story out and it started things rolling. Shirley-Ann then picked up on it and we ended down the way, in my small part, with Bill C-311.
To my astonishment, after the bill had been unanimously passed in both houses, Alberta refused to honour it. The Liberal B.C. government said, "We'd love to see Ontario wines in British Columbia", and they opened the doors. Ontario said, "Nah, we don't want to see B.C. wines here on a regular basis; we're not quite there yet". It just caused a lot of anger.
Strangely enough, Alberta is the best customer that we have outside of British Columbia. We buy a lot of our own wines. My show is heard in Alberta and I'm constantly getting feedback from Alberta customers and clients saying, "Why are we always being put in the situation where we don't know if we're breaking the law by bringing wines from the Okanagan back into Alberta". It's ironic because we see Tourism of B.C. saying, "Yeah, come on in, this is wine country, come on in", and then when customers get here, they say, "But, you can't take your wines back".
If you can help in any small way, to work with your provincial counterparts to clear up these hurdles, you will have done a great thing for this country.
We have bottlenecks all over the place; look no further than Alberta and Ontario. One or two things that would help would be to embrace the idea of having free trade within Canada, not just with the United Stated, and, additionally, to open up wine sales to the Internet, which everybody is talking about.
For every small winery out there, the wineries that make 3,000 to 5,000 cases of wine, every dollar is accounted for. They need one wine to pay the bills while the other wines are progressing. Usually it's a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Gris, or whatever, but that's the wine they need help with. If we could recognize that, they could pay their bills while all the reds are growing. It would be a wonderful thing if we could target one wine within the portfolio of a small winery and say we're going to support that wine as hard as we can to help the winery pay the bills while it gets the rest of the bottles ready for market.
On the Canadian embassy, I just want to say that Janet Dorozynski is a wonderful supporter of the wine industry, and I applaud her work with the embassies across the world.
Also, on Bill C-311, let's honour it as best we can. That's what it was written for.
I was going to say that no one since 1928 has been charged under the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act, but there was one poor schmuck who tried to come across the U.S.-Canada border many years ago. But the threat is always there. The threat is always over top of the wineries, that “We will charge you; we will make your life very uncomfortable”. The liquor boards are seen as bullies. I wish I could say nicer things about them, but they don't like the spotlight; not now and not two years ago.
I'm far more interested in your questions that you have for us here, and that's why I came today.
April 25th, 2013 / 11:25 a.m.
President, Alliance of Canadian Wine Consumers
Unfortunately, Bill C-311 contains the following phrase: “in quantities and as permitted by the laws of the latter province”. So it affects the receiving provinces. Unfortunately, we were not able to convince Parliament to take that out and insist that the province allow reasonable quantities.
So unless Parliament is willing to have some discussions on amending the amendment, if the provinces won't work within the spirit of the law, which you might revisit, there isn't another piece of legislation we're aware of besides the IILA under which we would be able to move forward.
April 25th, 2013 / 11:15 a.m.
Shirley-Ann George President, Alliance of Canadian Wine Consumers
Good morning, and thank you for the invitation to be here today.
The Alliance of Canadian Wine Consumers, better known as FreeMyGrapes, is a grassroots volunteer organization. Our goal is to make it legal to buy and ship Canadian wine across provincial borders for personal use. Today, I'll provide you with a brief update of what has happened since Bill C-311, the amendment to the IILA , was passed last year, as well as what else still needs to be done.
First, a big thank you to your colleague Dan Albas, the MP for Okanagan—Coquihalla. We are very proud to have been associated with Dan in the unanimous support he was able to garner from Parliament and from Senate. And unanimous support these days on the Hill is almost an oxymoron. We do appreciate all the efforts from both sides, from all the parties, in support of Bill C-311.
Why do we want interprovincial wine shipments? Let's start with the reality that there is overwhelming support from Canadians for this notion. In 2012, Harris/Decima research showed that, nationally, 78% of people said that these interprovincial barriers are unreasonable.
This is largely a North American problem. Imagine telling somebody in Paris they couldn't order a case of wine from Burgundy. If you told Italians they couldn't order their own product and that they could indeed incur a fine of up to $100,000 and jail time for ordering Italian wine, they would look at you as if you had grown a second head. This is the reality in Canada. It's largely going away in the United States. Today, 40 U.S. states are open, with Montana coming on board last week.
Our wineries can ship to 90% of the U.S. market, and small wineries that make up only 5% of U.S. production have been able to garner 50% of the direct-to-consumer market. This is an example where you would think that Canadian governments would want to support Canadian small businesses, especially small rural businesses, and when they had the overwhelming support of Canadians to do so, they would be able to move forward.
You may have some witnesses who will come in and say that provinces can't do this because it's unaffordable. We look at the U.S. numbers and respond that's nonsense. In the U.S., less than 1% of U.S.-produced wine is shipped across state lines. It is indeed a very affordable measure.
Bill C-311 passed on June 28 last year, almost a year ago. What has happened? Manitoba, a province with very little wine production, immediately said its borders were open. Kudos to Manitoba. Within two weeks, B.C. announced its borders were also open, and it continues to be the most forward-looking. It has in fact named a wine envoy, whose job it is to go to the other provinces and try to get them to open up their borders for B.C. wine.
Nova Scotia passed enabling legislation on December 6, and the minister's comments on this legislation are very encouraging, but the officials in the liquor boards prior to the minister's comments were not very encouraging. So we need to wait and see what the regulation actually says, but Nova Scotia is marked as hopeful.
Recent changes that allow one case of wine per trip on your person—so it has to physically accompany you—have been enabled in P.E.I. and Saskatchewan. If you live in P.E.I., you probably make it out to B.C. once or twice in your lifetime, on average. It's probably during the summer when you're not about to put a case of wine in your trunk and drive it across Saskatchewan in the heat of the summer. So this little measure that has been passed is not something that we see as progress at all.
Both provinces have also said they're not going to do any more, although neither one has come up with any answer to the question about how in the world they're going to enforce it.
Unfortunately, Alberta gets the booby prize. According to reports by outside counsel, Alberta law clearly states it is legal to ship into the province. Section 89 of their law says that “an adult may import from another province liquor for the adult's personal use or consumption”. It can't get more clear than that, but the Alberta government's position is that “import” means only on your person. So in free-enterprise, free-trade Alberta, we face a huge disappointment, and more work is needed there.
The Ontario law is actually silent on the importation or possession of wine from another province, but the LCBO's position is that you can only bring in one case on your person per trip.
There was a private member's bill by MPP Rob Milligan in 2012, but we lost that when the legislature was prorogued. He has that said he's going to reintroduce the bill, but unfortunately this Ontario government has a very poor record on opposition bills ever even making it to committee, never mind into law.
So while Ontario is clearly benefiting by shipping their wine to other provinces, they haven't opened their borders. To say that's ridiculous is an understatement.
In Quebec a petition was recently tabled in the legislature with over 3,000 signatures supporting people's ability to buy wine across provincial borders. Quebec has yet to respond to this petition, but the government has tabled enabling legislation, which if they wished, could include regulation that would allow reasonable quantities of wine to be shipped directly from a winery to Quebeckers. Unfortunately, we've been told that the intent of this legislation and the regulation that's currently being written is only to allow it on your person. So there's a real opportunity for movement in Quebec, but the effort needs to be considerable and quick.
So clearly the job is not done, although Canadians truly believed that with the passage of Bill C-311, the work was done. A significant number of them are ordering wine across provincial borders, and wineries—because it's now a possession issue and no longer a shipment issue—are largely willing to ship across provincial borders. The reality is that it's not legal and that there is a significant risk to anybody who does so.
We will continue to make our efforts, but we need some help with this huge loophole that is being used by too many provinces.
First, on behalf of the thousands, and thousands, and thousands of Canadian wine-lovers, we encourage you to continue Parliament's good work in tearing down these obsolete, ineffective, Prohibition-era, job-killing, interprovincial wine barriers.
Second, every time you see one of your provincial counterparts—and I really do encourage this for those members who come from Alberta—ask them to respond to the desire of 82% of Canadians who believe that we should be able to access wine through online purchasing. It is bizarre when you think about it that if you're an Albertan, you can go into B.C., literally load up a tractor-trailer full of wine, get in the passenger seat, drive across the Alberta border, and as long as it's for your personal consumption, that's perfectly legal. But if you order one bottle of wine and have it delivered to your home, you've broken the law.
Third, we encourage you to use all possible vehicles to promote this issue. There is a Conservative meeting happening actually on June 28, the one-year anniversary of the passage of Bill C-311. We encourage you to make sure it is filled with Canadian wine from outside the province, and that you make this public. We encourage you to find all federal-provincial opportunities to drive home the message that it is time to free our grapes. It is only together, by working in concert with consumers, the industry, and parliamentarians, that we'll finish the job.
April 18th, 2013 / 11:40 a.m.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Vintners Association
Absolutely. We've been pushing for this since 2007, so the private member's bill by Dan Albas and the support from Ron Cannan and a number of MPs from every side of the House made a historic change in amending that piece of legislation.
We've had limited success with the provinces, where, as I mentioned, we're approaching the one-year anniversary of the passage of Bill C-311. Manitoba and British Columbia are the only two jurisdictions that have opened up their borders to wine being shipped directly from a winery to a consumer. Nova Scotia and Quebec have passed enabling legislation for it. We believe that Nova Scotia is going to do the right thing and open it up as British Columbia has. In the case of Quebec, it's our understanding that they're going to do what Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, and Ontario have done and allow for a constituent to bring home one case per person per trip, which makes it extremely difficult.
April 18th, 2013 / 11:05 a.m.
Dan Paszkowski President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Vintners Association
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good morning, everybody. As noted, my name is Dan Paszkowski. I'm the president of the Canadian Vintners Association, better known as the CVA.
I'd like to thank you all for the occasion to provide the Canadian wine industry’s perspectives on various issues and challenges facing our sector, and the opportunities to improve our contribution to the Canadian economy, and the role government can play in the development and success of this vibrant industry.
The CVA is the national voice of the Canadian wine industry, representing all scales of production and accounting for more than 90% of the wine produced and sold across Canada. CVA members are engaged in the entire value chain: grape growing, farm management, grape harvesting, wine production, bottling, retail sales, research, and tourism.
The Canadian wine industry produces 100% Canadian and VQA wines as well as International Canadian Blended, ICB, wines. Both are significant economic drivers to the Canadian economy. We recently completed a landmark national economic impact study, which found that 100% Canadian and VQA wines contributed $3.7 billion, including tourism, to the Canadian economy, and wines blended in Canada from imported and domestic content contributed an additional $3.1 billion. This is an impressive figure—$6.8 billion combined—and is the result of 500 grape wineries and 1,300 independent grape growers across the country.
Wine is synonymous with value-added production. Canadian wineries capture greater revenue than most agrifood products, not only by crushing grapes and producing wine but also by packaging, marketing, and sales. From vineyard development and grape cultivation to the final sale, wine is a highly complex process that involves numerous suppliers, distributors, and service providers throughout the value chain, compounding the economic benefits. Our impact extends well beyond direct sales and employment, with strong linkages to tourism, retail sales, bars, and restaurants.
Our recent study, which was quite conservative in its figures, concluded that each bottle of Canadian-produced wine generates an average of $31 in economic impact. This includes more than $1.2 billion in contributions to government revenue through tax and liquor board markups. Furthermore, the domestic wine industry helps support more than 31,000 jobs and is motivation for more than three million tourists visiting Canadian wineries each year. Put into context, this is four times the number of visitors to the Vancouver Olympics.
The number of wineries in Canada has grown by 300% in the last decade, with more than 100 wineries opening in the last five years. Most are small businesses focused on premium wines. The investment made by the wine industry has been a direct response to the growing consumer interest in wine and wine tourism.
Wine is increasingly becoming the beverage of choice in Canada and presently accounts for 30% of the beverage alcohol market, up from 18% in 1995. However, Canadian wine industry sales account for only 30% of total wine sales while our foreign competition commands 70% of our domestic market.
At 30%, Canada has the lowest wine sales market share of any wine-producing country in the world. For example, South Africa owns 100% of its market, Argentina 99%, and the U.S. 68%, to name just a few.
ICB wines represent 25% of domestic wine sales, yet their market share has dropped almost 8% since 2000 while imports have grown 6%.
One hundred per cent Canadian VQA wines have experienced 2% growth in market share over the past decade, yet represents only 6% of total wine sales. Disappointingly, these premium wines represent less than 4% of total wine sales in 10 of 13 jurisdictions across Canada.
More than 200 million bottles of Canadian wine are sold each year in domestic markets, each contributing more than $31 in value to our economy. By comparison, a 2010 KPMG study prepared for the Wine Council of Ontario concludes that the sale of imported wine contributes a mere 67¢ per litre.
According to a 2012 Bank of Montreal report, Canada’s wine industry has experienced 3.1% growth on average since 2005, outpacing the overall economy.
The Canadian wine industry’s objective is to grow domestic wine sales in all available wine sales channels from coast to coast. With additional sales opportunities, the Canadian wine industry will build our market share beyond 30% towards a target of owning 50% of the domestic wine sales market.
This is good for the Canadian wine industry and good for Canada. Based on our economic study, we know that every $1 million increase in Canadian wine sales will lead to a further $3.1 million increase in gross output, including revenues, taxes, jobs, and wages across the wine industry value chain. This is an excellent, savvy investment in our economy.
Canada is one of the fastest growing wine retail markets in the world, with per capita wine consumption increasing by more than 37% over the past seven years. Supportive federal government policy can assist the domestic wine industry in becoming more competitive and increasing its share of retail wine sales in Canada.
The following three areas should be considered in support of adding further value to Canada’s wine economy.
First is Growing Forward 2. We need to support a domestic market promotion campaign, including major city premier wine tasting events, to build knowledge and relationships with consumers, restaurants, and retailers. We should recognize a national wine week, providing an annual opportunity to celebrate Canadian wines and wine tourism across Canada. Furthermore, we should partner with the Canadian Tourism Commission to build on the synergies between wine and tourism, including studies, marketing, and promotions.
Second is direct-to-consumer delivery. There should be federal engagement with provincial governments to remove interprovincial barriers to wine trade, in support of federal Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act amendments, the act that passed in June of last year.
Third is tax and regulation. We need to review the tax treatment of Canadian grape content in domestically produced blended wines to support and encourage greater inclusion of domestic ingredients. We should ensure that the proposed repeal of container size regulations takes place to reflect the competitive impacts on the Canadian wine industry. And we should index the small business tax deduction qualifying asset base thresholds to reflect inflation dating back to its origin in 1994, while indexing future asset test thresholds for inflation annually.
In conclusion, Canada’s wine industry is ripe for success. We are a value-added success story, a model for the agricultural sector, with domestic prospects to sustain our growth ambitions and new opportunities for wine country tourism, new jobs, and enhanced government revenues.
We believe that Canadian wine should occupy the majority of the shelf space in our domestic liquor outlets, not because stores are forced to do so but because Canadians prefer Canadian wine and demand it. We've seen VIA Rail shift to 100% Canadian wines on their menus, but our national airline, Air Canada, lacks a policy to guarantee a Canadian wine option on its flights. This is a disgraceful message to send Canadians and international visitors.
The CVA believes that Canadian wine can and should represent at least 50% of wine sales in Canada, but this will require government's concerted support and investment. The return on that investment is exponential for our local communities and national economy.
I'd like to conclude by inviting each one of you to become an ambassador for Canadian wine. So next time you travel, look for Canadian wine and demand it. Request Canadian wine at the meals and special events you attend, offer it to your guests and serve it with pride. Speak with your provincial counterparts about direct-to-consumer regulations to allow for the full implementation of Bill C-311. And finally, support Canadian wineries through tax and regulatory incentives, which, in the end, increase overall tax revenues through gains in market share.
Thank you. I look forward to your questions.
March 26th, 2013 / 11:30 a.m.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Winery and Grower Alliance of Ontario
Interestingly enough, much of the regulation in our industry comes at the provincial level. The federal government has actually addressed a number of issues over the past number of years that have helped us, including Bill C-311 recently, which was quite special.
From our standpoint, our focus is very much in terms of trying to incentivize the industry, to be able to compete with all countries in the world. That's why one of our focuses in terms of our presentation is related to the excise tax exemption on the Canadian content in International Canadian Blend wines. That is important for two reasons. One reason is that it will continue to increase demand for Canadian grapes, and as we were talking earlier, that is the fundamental of our industry growing into the future—it's pretty hard to make wine without grapes. Anything that incentivizes us to purchase more Canadian grapes will, in turn, help stimulate the entire value chain for our industry.
Then the second part is that an excise tax exemption for the Canadian portion of ICB wines will allow the wineries to be more competitive against foreign imports, and then hopefully, over time, we would increase our 30% market share to 31% market share, to 32% market share, to 33% market share, and trust me, even a 1% or 2% change in market share has real significance in terms of the growth of our industry and the types of dollars that we talked about earlier.
October 16th, 2012 / 5:05 p.m.
Owner, Savia Wine Agency
I'm from Toronto.
I haven't started moving outside the province. It's my understanding that Bill C-311 was meant, really, to encourage Canadian consumers and Canadian winemakers to connect and be able to purchase wine across provincial borders. It's my general understanding, and I don't pretend to be an economist, that because of international trade rules we can't treat Canadian products preferentially, so that eventually the same rule will apply to wines from all countries that are bottled in Canada.
I could potentially sell it to someone in Alberta. There is movement, and I assume it will be swift movement, afoot by the provincial bodies to ensure that they still can protect their territory as far as the duties and the markups that would be applied in their province are concerned.
October 16th, 2012 / 4:40 p.m.
Pablo Garrido Owner, Savia Wine Agency
Good afternoon, honourable members of Parliament, committee staff, and fellow participants. Let me say how much I appreciate the opportunity to address you this afternoon. The topic of a potential agreement between Canada and Japan touches areas very close to my heart.
My name is Pablo Garrido. I am the owner of Savia Wine Agency, an agency that specializes in importing Japanese wine to Ontario. If you are not familiar with Japanese wine, don't worry; you are not alone. While the more famous Japanese beverages of sake and beer have admirers the world over, Japanese winemakers are working diligently, with ever-evolving passion, to produce wines which I believe will one day come to rival wines produced in better-known regions. For context, I believe that Japanese winemakers stand where Ontario winemakers were approximately 15 years ago, producing wonderful product yet still working hard to convince consumers that the content in the bottle is worth the price.
I started Savia Wine Agency as a means of marrying my passion for wine with my love of Japan and my exceptional good fortune of being Canadian. With a list of contacts and a plane ticket to Tokyo as my starting point, I have learned quite a bit about myself, the adventures of starting a business, and the intriguing world of tariffs and duties as they apply to alcoholic beverages.
My first lesson came early on, during my initial trip to visit my supplier and wineries. I was returning to Canada with eight bottles of Koshu wine that I planned to use as samples. The combination of duties, excise tax, and provincial liquor markup equalled over $114.00, or 70% over and above the purchase price of the bottles in Japan. While I cannot pretend to be familiar with the duties paid by other industries entering Canada with trade samples, I have to believe that the duties wine agents pay reside somewhere close to the top.
To provide a window into the finances of my business, I charge a commission on a bottle of Koshu wine from Japan of about 10%, or $4 per bottle, totalling $24 per case. Given the aforementioned cost of providing samples to my customers, I need to sell more than four cases simply to recover my sample bottle costs. What these figures demonstrate is that my agency is a labour of love, but one that I cannot afford in the long term.
In addition, as a means of ensuring that we maintain a sense of social responsibility in regard to alcoholic beverages, many liquor boards across Canada maintain a floor on prices to ensure that pricing does not encourage the growth of damaging habits. These pricing practices, while laudable, do present challenges. For example, Ontario levies a markup of 39.6% on wine. I believe that a more fluid duty and tariff policy could help minimize the impact of provincial markups, ultimately helping businesses such as mine bring Canadians greater access to wines they have never experienced before.
With this experience in mind, you can imagine how my interest was piqued when earlier this year the House of Commons unanimously passed Bill C-311. This legislation, presented by Conservative MP Dan Albas, meant the removal of restrictions which, until now, had shackled the interprovincial trade of wine in this country. It brings to mind the type of access Canadian winemakers need in every market.
I recall staying up late into the evening to watch the vote, realizing that a House that appears divided will readily unify under the common goal of greater access to wine.
Using the new legislation governing interprovincial trade as the springboard, I believe that Canada has taken a progressive and significant step forward, signalling a new future-focused era in the trading of wine. With Prime Minister Harper demonstrating through words and action that Canada will no longer stand idly by as the wheels of international trade turn, Canadians can show that as a nation and as a valuable trading partner, we are forward thinking when it comes to the application of duties and tariffs on alcohol-based products.
For our federal government, there stands a unique opportunity to show the average Canadian that trade agreements do not just apply to and satisfy the traditional industries of nations. By addressing the trade barriers for less traditional products and services, such as wine and soap, governments can show the electorate that free trade does indeed greatly benefit small- and medium-sized companies alike.
A perfect example of the benefits of progressive trade was brought into focus for me by the honourable Mr. Keddy who, during a presentation to the Toronto chapter of the Japan Society, told the story that when free trade with the United States was announced, Canadian wineries feared that an influx of American wine would eat away at their market share. Over time, that isn’t exactly what has happened. In fact, in 2011, BMO Nesbitt Burns published a report showing that the United States is now the largest export market for Canadian wine, taking over 40% of total exports. By comparison, according to an Agriculture Canada report on the Canadian wine industry in 2007, the United States only accounted for 13.6% of all wine imported into Canada.
In the same report, a key passage supports the honourable Mr. Keddy’s assertions by stating:
The wine industry responded to the challenge of trade liberalization by focusing on premium wines and introducing new products such as Icewine, for which Canada is recognized as a world leader. At the same time, wineries introduced new high-quality grapes and products that reflect changing consumer taste profiles.
Taking into account the fears that Canadian wine producers had expressed with free trade with the United States, consider this contrast for free trade with Japan. The largest winery I represent produces wine with grapes grown on approximately 14 acres. Henry of Pelham winery in Niagara produces wine from grapes grown on 170 acres. By sheer volume potential, Canadian winemakers can only stand to gain from easier, lower cost access to the world's third largest economy, representing over 127 million consumers, where Canadian wine exports have seen a drop of nearly 17% since 2006, according to an Agriculture Canada report tabled in May of this year. Thus, in Japan I believe Canada has found an exceptional partner and opportunity, the ideal nation to begin building a new legacy of successful international trade in wine.
For Japanese winemakers, such as those I represent, lower market entry costs for their products brings the potential not only for increased sales but for greater exposure, a key goal, especially for Koshu wine, a white wine that is grown using the indigenous Koshu grape of Japan. In fact, this export recognition is so important that in 2009 a group of wineries from the Yamanashi prefecture, Japan's main wine-growing region, created a trade association called Koshu of Japan.
On their website, the wineries state their main goals as overseas promotion, new product development, and publicity. In search of this exposure the group has held annual tasting events in London. One of my personal goals is to convince the trade association to include Canada in their next trade mission. An economic agreement between our two nations, with attention paid to expanding trade in alcoholic beverages would certainly demonstrate in tangible terms Canada's desire to delve into all sectors of trade markets the world over.
Canadian restaurants would also benefit from having access to unique wines at a price point that could more easily win over Canadian consumers. During a fundraising event after the horrendous earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, I recall meeting a senior representative of a major Canadian importer of Japanese goods. During the discussion he mentioned that he had indeed looked into importing Japanese wine into Canada, but the overall costs were an impediment to both sides producing a desired result. A move toward an economic agreement between Canada and Japan would effectively address current challenges to market expansion.
In addition, I believe that in Japan we are currently seeing a nation where traditional industry powerhouses are facing immense pressures. For example, Sharp Electronics as part of its recent restructuring is considering selling its LCD production facilities in Mexico and Taiwan and cutting 5,000 jobs for the first time in 60 years.
Indeed, I see changing and challenging times for Japan. We could very well be witnessing the redefinition of what Japan will be best known for in the future. A strategic, well-designed economic partnership with Canada could prove to be an exceptional catalyst for both nations in realizing their full future trade potential.
Thank you for your time and attention, and for the invitation to be here today.
Message from the Senate
June 28th, 2012 / 2 p.m.
The Speaker Andrew Scheer
I have the honour to inform the House that when the House did attend His Excellency the Governor General in the Senate chamber, His Excellency was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:
Bill C-288, An Act respecting the National Flag of Canada—Chapter 12, 2012.
Bill C-278, An Act respecting a day to increase public awareness about epilepsy—Chapter 13, 2012.
Bill C-310, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons)—Chapter 15, 2012.
Bill C-31, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Balanced Refugee Reform Act, the Marine Transportation Security Act and the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act—Chapter 17, 2012.
It being 2:15 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, September 17, 2012, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1).