Taxes are a bigger obstacle to B.C. wineries

Our nanny state still forces us to pay ridiculously high “sin” taxes on wine and other intoxicating liquors

Conservative MP Dan Albas would have you believe that striking down an arcane law that no one followed will create more jobs in Canada’s wine industry.

But do you know any tourists who didn’t take B.C. wine back to their home province because of Canada’s 1928 law prohibiting the transportation of liquor over provincial borders? Do you know of any wineries in B.C. that didn’t sell wine to visitors because of this law? Yeah, neither do I.

Of course Mr. Albas doesn’t know any either, which is why he’s pretending there’s going to be a sudden increase in Internet wine sales across the land. But stop and think for a minute… are you planning to start buying more wine? Why would you? It’s not as though Albas made wine any cheaper.

Our nanny state still forces us to pay ridiculously high “sin” taxes on wine and other intoxicating liquors. These “sin” taxes are levied provincially and Mr. Albas is a federal MP. But the measure of success or failure of Albas’s private member’s bill now rests entirely, by Albas’s own admittance, on whether or not the provinces will play along with what he calls “the spirit” of his bill.

This leaves Mr. Albas, again by his own admittance, begging provincial officials to see things his way. While chatting with these officials, why not raise the issue of reducing the outrageous amount of “sin” tax we pay on liquor? Eh? Whaddya say Mr. Albas? Everyone knows it’s the only way we’re going to get more jobs in the wine industry.

There’s also the outstanding issue of processed foods which remain easier to import from the United States than to transport across provincial borders. Still no response from Albas on that, clear evidence that he believes wine is more important to the economy than food.

While a real politician might try to help Canadians spend less on groceries, and on booze, Albas is too busy patting himself on the back, recognizing “the hard work of the many Okanagan winery owners who have invested in producing world-class wines”; the implication being that anyone who doesn’t support Albas is against Okanagan winery owners. Have I got that right Mr. Albas?

I know many people working in B.C.’s wine industry, and they all say the same thing: “Reduce our taxes!” And shouldn’t a politician who claims to be a conservative at least try to do that?

Mischa Popoff