The Saskatchewan government has now retaliated against the Alberta NDP’s beer tax program by changing their markup structure to favour Saskatchewan breweries.
Earlier this year, the NDP implemented a tax and grant program that charges out of province breweries $1.25 per litre on their products. Previously, Saskatchewan was exempt from this rule.
Jeremy Harrison, the Minister in charge of the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority announced that the changes are a “declaration of all out war on Saskatchewan produced beer.”
This comes after Saskatoon based brewery Great Western launched a legal challenge against the NDP, claiming the new mark up program has pressured them to increase prices and they’ve lost business because of it.
Great Western Brewery says that under the new system, their markup will go down by 75 cents which might seem like good news for Saskatchewan breweries, but it’s not good news for Canadians.
Under section 121 of the constitution, it’s illegal for governments to tax goods traded inter-provincially and it comes at a cost to Canadians as it’s estimated that $50 to $130 billion is lost to the economy as a result of restrictions on trade.
Every province has a different markup structure, making things incredibly complicated but the bottom line is that trade should be free in Canada, it’s our right.