LETTER: Why is Alex Atamanenko supporting wine bill?

I’m shocked that Alex Atamanenko would unconditionally support a bill to allow citizens to carry wine across inter-provincial borders.

Editor:

Re: 2011 – A federal year in review part I (Feb. 22 issue of the Grand Forks Gazette)

I’m shocked that Alex Atamanenko would unconditionally support Dan Albas’ Private Member’s Bill to allow citizens to carry wine across inter-provincial borders.

He should pull back before he gets burned. Here’s why:

No one would argue that wine is more important than food. Right? And yet it’s easier right now to import meat from the United States than from a neighbouring province.

This hurts the local, organic, natural and free-range meat market immeasurably. In fact, here in B.C., the provincial Liberals managed to shut down most small-to-medium sized abattoirs (slaughter facilities), thereby cutting consumers off from their traditional, local supplies of meat.

Federal restrictions on interprovincial trade don’t just apply to meat; they apply to almost all locally-processed food items. But Albas wants to only free things up on wine?

And a New Democrat who has a strong reputation of standing up for the little guy within the Canadian agricultural and food sector supports him unconditionally?

Baffling! Yes, we should get rid of Canada’s arcane liquor laws but not before we free up trade on food. Atamanenko should urge Conservatives like Albas to see the full picture instead of pandering to a select group of wealthy wine makers. C’mon Alex, you’re better than that!

Mischa Popoff, Osoyoos, B.C.