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Opposition says attempt to modernize alcohol sale restrictions won't make a difference

Last Updated Apr 10, 2019 at 9:55 am PDT

(Photo by Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The federal Opposition is dismissing an attempt by the Trudeau government to allow companies that make wine, beer and spirits to sell directly to consumers in other provinces.

The Trudeau Liberals have introduced legislation that will scrap the federal rule that forces breweries, wineries and distilleries to sell their products through a provincial liquor authority if it is crossing provincial borders.

While the Liberals say this opens the door for people in Ontario to get B.C. wines delivered to their door, Conservative MP Dan Albas says the change would be merely symbolic.

“There’s not going to be any difference in the ability of a consumer to be able to order directly from a winery today, unless a particular province like Ontario or Quebec opens their borders.”

The Trudeau government does acknowledge that provinces still have barriers in place and is urging provincial governments to follow their lead to give customers more choice.

The issue has rankled consumers for decades and was forced under a media spotlight a year ago when a New Brunswick man lost a five-year court battle to buy cheap beer in neighbouring Quebec.

The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled last April that provincial and territorial governments have the authority to restrict imports of goods from other jurisdictions and that Canadians do not have a constitutional right to buy and freely transport alcohol across provincial and territorial borders.