B.C. Premier Christy Clark pushes Ontario on B.C. vintages

By Richard Zussman, QMI Agency Vancouver



Christy Clark is hoping her first conversation with new Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne is over a glass of B.C. wine.

On Monday, the B.C. premier congratulated Wynne for her hard fought Liberal leadership victory on Saturday and suggested the provinces should talk soon about wine importation.

B.C. has opened the doors for importing wine from Ontario to the west coast, but the rules haven’t yet changed for Ontario to buy wines coming the other way.

“Ontario hasn’t opened up their borders to wine imports from British Columbia, we’ve opened our borders for wine imports from Ontario,” Clark said at a media scrum. “I believe we have the best wineries in the world and I think Ontarians want to drink our wine.”

Clark will be sending Wynne some bottles of the province’s “finest vintages” as a congratulatory gift and as a way to convince the new leader to open up the border. In 2011, a private member’s bill from B.C. MP Dan Albus struck down a federal prohibition era law that banned the shipment of wine across provincial borders.

The provinces currently need to follow in line with the national law. Since the federal-level decision, Manitoba, B.C. and Nova Scotia have made the change provincially, allowing residence to bring wine in from the other parts of Canada.

“I am glad it is on (Clark’s) radar screen. It is a positive. All the provinces need to do it. B.C. has already done it, Manitoba’s already has done it, and Nova Scotia has done it,” said Cedar Creek Winery president Gordon Fitzpatrick in Kelowna. “We can’t just sell all our wine here. The industry is growing and why shouldn’t we sell across the country.”

He added the issue of cross provincial border wine shipment will likely have a bigger impact on tourists stocking up on wine once home from their holidays rather than seeing a large number of B.C. wines pop up at Ontario liquor stores.


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