Alberta finance minister to review beer tax trade ruling after findings leaked
Artisan Ales showed a lack of respect for the process by leaking panel's report, Joe Ceci says
Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci says he's disappointed a report on the province's beer tax policy was leaked and he'll take time to review the findings.
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Ceci said 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.
He said the plaintiff, Artisan Ales Consulting, showed a lack of respect for the process by leaking the panel's report.
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.
Artisan Ales co-owner Mike Tessier said releasing the report early doesn't change the findings of the panel.
"I don't care," he said, "the answer's the answer."
Ceci said he will take 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.