President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance Joe Ceci issued the following statement regarding the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) panel decision on the Alberta Small Brewers Development program:
“I am proud of the success of the Alberta Small Brewers Development (ASBD) program. Since the program started a year ago, 18 new breweries have opened their doors, created jobs and made great Alberta beer. In short, the program works and is doing what it intended.
“I promised Alberta’s small businesses that our government would have their backs. I have no intention of abandoning them now and that’s why we are appealing the decision by the AIT panel on the ASBD program.
“I continue to believe that the ASBD program meets our commitments under AIT and other trade agreements.
“Alberta maintains the most open liquor market in the country with the widest selection of beer and other liquor products from across Canada and around the world. Meanwhile, Alberta products are largely shut out of other provinces like British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec.
“While the opposition continues to support businesses outside the province at the expense of our brewers here at home, we are helping Alberta businesses to grow and employ hard-working Albertans.
“Our approach is to support business from grain to glass. Alberta’s brewers use our world-class agricultural products, like wheat and barley, further supporting farmers and Alberta’s rural economy.”