Sommeliers across Canada raised their glasses to a regional politician last weekend for winning the fight to freely transport wine for personal use across provincial borders.
Dan Albas, MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla, successfully championed the cause last year through a private member’s bill that became the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act.
The effort earned him the National Capital Sommelier Guild’s 2012 Wine Person of the Year award, which was presented at the guild’s annual gala at the National Arts Center in Ottawa on Saturday.
“Mr. Albas’s efforts mean a great deal not only to wine enthusiasts,” said guild president Bill Ellis, “but also to Canada’s wine industry and our national economy. His private-member’s bill removes an obsolete trade barrier and encourages the repeal of similar provincial and territorial laws.”
Albas is intimately familiar with the wine industry as a former city councillor for Penticton and MP of a federal riding that includes one of Canada’s leading viticultural regions.
He said his fight to modernize the federal laws surrounding the industry continues.
“Bill C-311 becoming law should not be thought as the end of the process, but rather as the beginning,” said Albas in his acceptance speech. “More than 70 percent of wine currently sold in Canada today comes from countries outside our borders and yet as we know, Canadian vintners can and do make some of the finest wines in the world.
“Let us continue to work together to expand and to grow our outstanding Canadian wine industry.”
Published in Kamloops Daily News
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