INTER-PROVINCIAL WINE BILL RECEIVES RARE UNANIMOUS CONSENT MOTION AFTER CONTROVERSIAL NDL FILIBUSTER
Posted on 06 June 2012 by Mathew White
Following what has been called a case of “simple miscommunication”, the federal NDP has introduced a motion that will allow a standing vote on a federal bill that would eliminate restrictions currently placed on inter-provincial liquor sales.
Bill C-311, which was presented by Okanagan-Coquihalla MP Dan Albas last October, would eliminate restrictions currently placed on inter-provincial liquor transportation and sales by amending the “Importation of Intoxicating Liquor Act.”
The bill was expected to pass last Tuesday but an NDP filibuster put an end to that.
“More or less, on Tuesday night, despite critics saying this will go forward with unanimous consent and be sent off to the senate, what we saw was five NDP MPs … filibuster the bill,” said Albas. “Obviously they were in support of the bill, but NDP MP Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby-Douglas) was bringing up personal details that had nothing to do with the actual bill or any concerns with the amendment the bill’s calling for.”
Albas said the bill is really a time-sensitive issue and he was not pleased to see it delayed.
“I want to see wine producers and grape growers and tourists be able to take advantage of Bill C-311 this grape-growing cycle, and apparently, even though they (NDP) said they supported the bill, it didn’t stop them from filibusting,” he said.
Alex Atamanenko, NDP MP for the Southern Interior of B.C., said last week’s filibuster was, again, just a simple case of miscommunication.
“I’ve always been supportive of the bill,” said Atamanenko. “But there was a lack of communication and the party wound up putting up a few speakers, which meant that Dan’s bill wouldn’t come up until the fall. As soon as I knew what was happening … we tried to fix it.”
“It was not intentional … and we’re certainly not going to block it, and as a matter of fact, we’re going to encourage getting it through as quickly as possible.”
After realizing their mistake, the NDP originally offered to rectify the situation by moving a few of their own bills in order to give a spot to Bill C-311. However, Liberal Nova Scotia MP Scott Brison made an offer for an earlier date, which Albas accepted.
But, in yet another turn down this strange road, the NDP have since put forth a motion, which was subsequently accepted by Albas, which will allow this bill to go to a unanimous consent motion, meaning all discussion on the bill will be fortified and will go directly to a vote during a session in Parliament today (June 6).
“Obviously I want to see this through so I accepted it,” said Albas.
“I think we all have to put aside our differences and see that there are practical solutions that we can agree on. I look forward to see the bill pass, hopefully with all parties’ support when the vote is taken.”