August 4, 2017 11:34 am
Updated: August 4, 2017 6:32 pm

Alberta government ‘disappointed’ by leak, will review beer tax policy

WATCH: Speaking in Calgary on Thursday, Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci said he was disappointed by an information leak on a report into the province's beer tax.


Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci says he’s disappointed a report on the province’s beer tax policy was leaked and he’ll be taking time to review the findings.

Ceci said Thursday that the government should have had almost a month to privately review the findings of the three-member Agreement on Internal Trade panel, which looked into whether Alberta’s policies to boost its craft beer industry violated trade rules.

READ MORE: Alberta to allow craft beer, spirits to be sold at farmers' markets

He said the complainant, Artisan Ales Consulting, showed a lack of respect for the process by leaking the panel’s report when it came out.

WATCH BELOW: Alberta to allow craft beers, spirits to be sold at farmers’ markets

Story continues below

“Given the leak by the complainant, in this case, we’ve been denied that opportunity to look at this in a fulsome way and correct any issues we found, if there were any, so we’re disappointed they decided to act unilaterally in that way and demonstrate bad faith,” said Ceci.

READ MORE: Alberta finance minister announces changes to province’s liquor policies

Artisan Ales co-owner Mike Tessier said releasing the report early doesn’t change the findings of the panel.

“I don’t care, the answer’s the answer.”

The panel, in a two-to-one decision, found the government’s policy of providing what amounts to beer tax rebates to Alberta small breweries discriminates against out-of-province beers sold in Alberta.

READ MORE: Alberta NDP’s beer tax contravenes Canadian internal trade rules: panel

WATCH BELOW: How to match craft beer and food

Ceci said he will be taking time to review the panel’s findings, but still believes the grant program meets trade agreements.

The Alberta government also faces a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of its beer policies, with the court case set to resume in September.

Ceci made his remarks at a Calgary farmers’ market, as he announced that craft beers and spirits will be allowed to be sold at approved markets across the province.

LISTEN: Derek From, staff lawyer, with the Canadian Constitution Foundation

© 2017 The Canadian Press

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.