MP drafts legislation to open floodgates on interprovincial booze sales

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Dan Albas

OTTAWA — A Conservative backbencher is aiming to open the floodgates on cross-country booze shipments, drafting legislation that offers a workaround to interprovincial trade barriers.

MP Dan Albas tabled a private member’s bill Tuesday that would allow Canada Post to offer direct-to-consumer sales of out-of-province beer, wine and hard liquor from coast to coast to coast.

The plan, which Albas calls “buy, ship and sip,” would bypass provincial restrictions to offer beer buffs and wine connoisseurs more choice and unlock new markets for producers, particularly smaller operations.

The B.C. parliamentarian says provincially owned alcohol distributors such as Ontario’s LCBO amount to monopolies that choke off variety, leaving Canadians with more access to U.S. and European products than to those bottled in their own backyards.

Albas says the bill makes all the more sense in a digital age when customers are increasingly shopping online.

Currently, four provinces allow direct-to-consumer sales into their jurisdictions: Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.