It has been two years since the 'Free my Grapes' Bill C-311 was passed by the federal government and still only two provinces, BC and Manitoba, have removed the barriers for wine trade.
Federal Industry Minister James Moore was in Kelowna Friday as part of a national tour to re-commit to getting the other provinces to sign on.
Moore says the government has plans in place to break down the provincial barriers to trade within Canada that he says cripple the national economy and hurt Canadian consumers and businesses.
“We are going to be sitting down with individual provinces and getting much more aggressive with them and asking them to show real leadership. We, as a country, are open to other countries around the world having free access to the Canadian economy and yet BC companies cannot get free access to their own Canada economy. We need to be as good to ourselves as we are international distributors,” says Moore.
Moore is optimistic some real change can happen across Canada.
“We understand that provinces have to assert and represent their interests effectively, but what is irresponsible is provinces to put in place discriminatory policies that are clearly based only on protecting and isolating local economies and preventing Canada's economy from growing,” says Moore.
He strongly believes that our internal borders should not have more red tape than our international borders and that we need our products to flow freely from sea to sea.
Later this summer Moore and the provinces are going to discuss a brand new free trade agreement within Canada so that BC wine and all products can freely flow across the country.
The plan is to rewrite the antiquated Agreement on Internal Trade, drafted over 20-years-ago, to bring it in line with the current global economic reality.