EDMONTON, AB: United Conservative Party Finance Critic Ric McIver released the following statement in response to the NDP government appealing the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) panel decision on the Alberta Small Brewers Development program:
“I am disappointed, but not surprised, to see Finance Minister Joe Ceci waste hard-earned taxpayer dollars doubling down on what is a clear violation of the Agreement on Internal Trade. By fighting the AIT panel’s decision, the NDP has sent a signal Alberta no longer respects agreements that were signed in good faith by our many trading partners. This will ultimately hurt Alberta businesses across all industry sectors.
“To be clear, the United Conservative Party is unequivocal in our support for Alberta businesses, including small brewers. We do not, however, agree that violating trade agreements with protectionist measures does anything to help these businesses thrive. Instead, the NDP’s actions have invited retaliation from what used to be some of our closest trading partners, preventing Alberta-based brewers from expanding to new Canadian markets. Given that NDP policies have driven billions in investment and thousands of jobs out of Alberta, we have no trust in this government to do what’s best for business.
“We call on Minister Ceci to admit his mistake and modify the Alberta Small Brewers Development Program to align with existing trade agreements.”