Evidence of meeting #50 for Finance in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was wine.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Does anyone else have any comments? Does that basically articulate what this bill would do, if the provinces create the appropriate enabling legislation? Have we essentially captured what we're trying to do?

Mr. McWatters, do you have a comment?

5:15 p.m.

Time Estate Winery, Vintage Consulting Group Inc.

Harry McWatters

On your first question about 100% Canadian, my opinion would be that it wouldn't be trade legal. I'm not sure that Dan understood the question.

The reason I believe it wouldn't be trade legal is that you wouldn't be treating the foreign wine in the same way, because we would exclude it from having the opportunity to be shipped between provinces, so the amendment would be redundant.

I believe that by far the majority of what will be shipped is likely to go directly from the winery producer to the consumer, but this bill certainly doesn't preclude anybody from calling any liquor store in Alberta and having the wine that they can't find, wherever it comes from, shipped across the country. That's actually what makes it trade legal.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Thank you.

Thank you, Ms. McLeod.

We'll go to Monsieur Giguère, s'il vous plaît, pour cinq minutes.

March 27th, 2012 / 5:15 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

My first question is about the very definition of the term "wine" in the bill. It may include a lot of things, such as cider, hard lemonade and wine coolers. This term may also include wine concentrate.

Inasmuch as it is hard to ensure the traceability of products that will be sold locally, what happens when someone buys more than a case? What happens if a restaurateur purchases, in one province, some wine concentrate that comes from abroad? What happens to our capacity to enforce this bill if no liquor control board is going to regulate these sales?

I would like to have some information as to the possibility of this bill opening the door to a market we did not think about, a market that was not supposed to exist, but that is going to appear, such as the wine concentrate market.

5:15 p.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Association of Liquor Jurisdictions

Rowland Dunning

Let me take one shot at that.

There are producers in Quebec who bring in 100% Chilean wine, for example, bottle it, and sell it through the depanneur system in Quebec. If the bill goes through and provinces make changes to their regulations, consumers could technically order that product and have it shipped across the country, and it would be 100% Chilean, Argentinian, South African, or what have you.

That is one of our concerns as well, that it creates this business opportunity.

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

My second question is about free trade agreements.

At present, to sell wine in a province, it is mandatory to go through a liquor control board, which authorizes redistribution.

Canadian wines are going to be exempt from this obligation and will not be regarded in free trade agreements as a favoured product, an unlawful advantage. If there is a challenge, who is going to pay the legal fees for it?

5:15 p.m.

Time Estate Winery, Vintage Consulting Group Inc.

Harry McWatters

I'll gladly address that.

First of all, all wines produced in Canada are actually listed with the province in which they are produced. That province may not take possession of it, but in British Columbia you can't sell a product from your cellar door without its being registered with the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch. The same is true in other jurisdictions, so that is a situation that would not arise.

Concerning your comment about the concentrate, by the way, they could now go to any UVin store and make wine from concentrate and avoid all of those taxes altogether.

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Thank you.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

You have one minute left.

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Good.

Let us talk about cider. We can also make ice cider, we can sell a lot of local products. Is there not a risk of the phenomenon of specialized microbreweries popping up, breweries that are going to sell a product widely, on-line, without necessarily complying with provincial legislation?

5:20 p.m.

Time Estate Winery, Vintage Consulting Group Inc.

Harry McWatters

I'm not sure that I fully understand the question. In an earlier comment, you made it about wine. Wine is actually defined as a product of fully or partially fermented grape juice. That precludes a number of the products that you have talked about, and I believe that under this bill, that would be the case: in order to be called wine, it has to be made from grapes.

It can be made from other fruit, but that fruit must be identified. Cherry wine can't be called wine without being preceded by the word “cherry”.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

We're just on time.

Mr. Stutz, do you want to comment briefly?

5:20 p.m.

As an Individual

Hanspeter Stutz

I think it's a very important question. I know it's coming from Quebec. We are also producing a high-end cider and ice cider, and I think it's really important to include this in this bill and find a wording that includes fermented cider and product from apples.

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

I just want a short answer. The definition of the term "wine" is given in section 2 of the 1901 Excise Act. This definition of the term "wine" is extremely broad; it even includes hard lemonade. That is the document we will have to work with.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Does anyone want to comment briefly on that? No?

Okay. Merci.

I'm going to take the next round as the chair.

At the outset, Ms. Martinez, I want to allow you to respond briefly on the underage drinking issue.