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Alberta files notice of appeal after June ruling found it discriminated against out-of-province beer

A file photo of two mugs of beer.
A file photo of two mugs of beer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Toby Talbot

The Alberta government is not giving up on its two-year-old strategy for helping out local craft brewers, even though a Court of Queen’s Bench judge ruled its markups and rebate policy was unconstitutional.

Court documents show the province has filed a notice of appeal to have Justice Gillian Marriott’s ruling overturned.

Last month, Marriott sided with Toronto’s Steam Whistle Brewing and Saskatoon’s Great Western Brewing Company in its battle with Alberta’s NDP government, ruling the province’s beer policies discriminated against out-of-province beer.

READ MORE: Alberta loses beer battle with Steam Whistle, Great Western breweries

Watch below: On June 20, 2018, Fletcher Kent filed this report after a court ruling found Alberta’s beer policies to be unconstitutional.

Click to play video 'Unfair beer markup: Judge orders Alberta to pay out of province breweries $2M' Unfair beer markup: Judge orders Alberta to pay out of province breweries $2M
Unfair beer markup: Judge orders Alberta to pay out of province breweries $2M

Marriott ordered Rachel Notley’s government to pay the two breweries $2.1 million in restitution.

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In documents filed by Alberta Justice on behalf of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) on Monday, the government agency argues the judge may have, among other things, made “palpable and overriding errors of fact” with regard to markup payments and incidences.

The appeal also questions whether a provincial grant, proprietary charge or a markup “applied equally to all” could violate a section of the constitution covering the free movement of products between provinces.

The document also seeks clarification over whether Marriott “in her ruling impermissibly reduced or eradicated without any legal authority, the powers that the Crown possesses with respect to its property In liquor.”

Marriott’s ruling came on the heels of another blow to Alberta’s beer policies. A trade panel decision handed down earlier in June found Alberta violated interprovincial trade rules. Both rulings set a six-month deadline for Alberta to revise its trade policies regarding beer.

READ MORE: Trade panel ruling slams Alberta’s craft beer subsidy program

While all brewers in Alberta pay $1.25 tax per litre on beer, Finance Minister Joe Ceci introduced grants in 2016 meant to help small Alberta brewers grow their businesses.

You can view the notice of appeal filed on Monday below.

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