EDMONTON, AB: Instead of committing to creating the right investment conditions to encourage breweries to set up shop in Alberta, the NDP government is picking winners and losers with their new small brewers tax and grant scheme and Alberta consumers will pay the tab, the Wildrose Official Opposition said Friday.
Wildrose has urged the NDP government to focus on breaking down interprovincial trade barriers and incite investment in Alberta through an attractive tax system and open market, but instead, they have put up barriers that will drive up costs for Albertans and effectively shut out breweries from other provinces from being able to sell their product in Alberta.
“Wildrose believes in a free and open market, and the fact that Albertans know a good product when they see it,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean says. “I have full confidence that the great Albertan small and medium sized breweries can continue to compete with other beers from across the country without the government having to pick winners and losers.”
The issue of beer politics has become contentious in recent weeks, in large part due to the NDP government’s unwillingness to recognize its New West Trade Partnership partners in British Columbia and Saskatchewan and the possibility of working collaboratively rather than setting up trade barriers.
“At the end of the day Wildrose is focused on ensuring there are no new beer taxes for beer drinkers in Alberta, and that the business conditions in our province encourage small breweries to thrive,” Wildrose Shadow Finance Minister Derek Fildebrandt said. “Trade barriers in other provinces don’t justify trade barriers that hurt Alberta consumers. I would welcome the opportunity to sit down with Finance Minister Ceci over a cold beer and find a way for us to talk through this issue to find a solution that works for brewers and Albertans.”