The Alberta government is opening a new front in its beer war with other provinces by targeting Ontario for what it says are its unfair trade barriers to Alberta-made suds and other alcoholic products.
The initiative emerged on Monday as Alberta announced a full retreat on its own craft beer subsidies that were found by a judge last spring to be unconstitutional.
« Alberta has the most open liquor policy in the country, offering Albertans a choice of over 3,700 Canadian products … Alberta merchants stock and sell 745 alcoholic beverages from Ontario, » said Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous at an Edmonton brewery on Monday.
« Ontario is the largest market in the country, three times larger than our own, yet we can only find about 20 Alberta liquor products listed for sale in Ontario. »
The complaint under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement is being made against Ontario because it has the biggest liquor market in Canada but it could be expanded to include other provinces with similar barriers, Bilous said, adding he’s hoping for an amicable solution.