Last week, lawyers for two out of province brewers, Steam Whistle and Great Western, had their day in court to argue why the Alberta government’s tax is unconstitutional and provides an unfair advantage to Alberta brewers.
The NDP have changed the tax system on liquor in the province where a fee is charged on a per litre basis. It used to depend on how much product a brewery was producing, meaning less tax for smaller breweries, but they changed it overnight to $1.25 per litre for everyone adding costs of up to $1.15 per litre for some breweries.
Steam Whistle is arguing that this tax is illegal under Section 121 of the constitution which provides for free trade among the provinces, originally one of the benefits of amalgamating as a country.
To make matters worse, after the NDP implemented the tax increase, they then provided Alberta breweries with grants to cover added costs.
Minister of Finance Joe Ceci says he did all of this to support local breweries, but I showed you documents that revealed this was just an $85M cash grab by the NDP.
The Alberta government hasn’t had a chance to defend their position yet. Arguments were scheduled over two days but have spilled over and unfortunately, we won’t get a chance to hear from them until September.
As always, I’ll keep you updated as events unfold.