As some of you may have heard by now, I have been involved in the FreeMyGrapes fight to get Canadians access to Canadian wines. To that end, I purchased a 12 gauge shotgun online from Saskatchewan last week to show my fellow Canadians how easy it is to buy a gun versus a case of wine online from another province. My new gun is a “Maverick 88” single barrel, pump-action, 12 gauge single shot–whatever all that means. It was made in Texas, sold by a Saskatoon retailer online and it was cheap at $209.95 (expensive for a demonstration though).
…if only getting 12 bottles of Canadian wine were as easy as getting this 12 gauge:
- Until today, June 28, 2012, with the passage of Federal Bill C-311, transporting wine across Canadian provincial lines was illegal. Not so for the gun.
- Although Federal Bill C-311 allows for personal transport of wine from province to province, British Columbia is still restricting personal transportation of wine to ONE 9L case. Not so with the gun. I could have bought 100 shotguns if I had the money, and the desire.
- Although the 51 word amendment to the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (ILLA) allows for people to “bring the wine or cause it to be brought into another province” (ie: shipping) British Columbia has not allowed for e-commerce sales yet. Not so with my online shotgun purchase.
- Due to BC Liquor Board policy and similar to gasoline, taxes on a bottle of wine are hidden in the retail shelf price. Not so with my 12 gauge–$209.95 for the gun and $26.99 taxes (12% HST charged because that is tax rate in the “ship to” province).
- Wine is not allowed to be shipped via Canada Post. I do question whether section 3.4 is still valid with the passage of Bill C-311–but that question is for another day. Guns can be shipped today via Canada Post, section 3.3, no question. As long as the gun is unloaded, locked, in a sturdy container and the package is not marked in any way on the outside (I love that part!) then it is allowed to be shipped.
- Wine needs to be signed for by an adult when it is sent via carrier. The Maverick 88 also needed to be signed for by the purchaser so there is no difference here. The argument that online wine sales will somehow sidestep liquor board’s mandate to ensure that intoxicating beverages are not shipped to people who are not of legal age is just ridiculous. Anyone who has ordered and signed for a case of wine in BC from a BC winery knows that.
I can see why the provinces are so concerned about allowing consumers to buy wine online and get it shipped to their homes in Canada. It is a very dangerous…um…value added agricultural product that supports local farmers, is enjoyed with meals and adds to the tourist economy.