June 20, 2016
Open Letter to Canadian Federal Members of Parliament
We were disappointed to learn that Canadian Parliamentarians once again chose a foreign whisky
(12 year-old Aberlour Highland Scotch Whisky) as the official House of Commons Speaker’s
whisky for 2016.
Members of Parliament of all political parties have, time and again, thumped their chests and
vocally declared their personal and the Party’s support for locally-grown agricultural and agri-food
processed products yet, when choosing the Commons’ own preferred beverage, apparently reject
quality products made here.
We are not suggesting that Canadian products should be provided preferential consideration,
only that “Made in Canada” Spirits not face systemic internal discrimination. North American
consumers routinely choose Canadian Whisky over American, Scotch or Irish Whiskies, yet
Canadian Whiskies are not provided due consideration from our own elected officials.
What would be the reaction to the National Assembly of France choosing a California Cabernet as
the country’s official wine, or of Mexico choosing a Russian vodka as that country’s official Spirit?
Yet, a Scotch Whisky has once again been anointed as the Parliament of Canada’s official Whisky.
Each bottle of Canadian Whisky is made from locally-grown rye, corn, wheat, and/or barley
mashed, fermented, distilled by your neighbours with the resulting distillate aged and bottled in
Canada. More importantly, Canadian Whisky manufacturers produce amongst the finest whiskies
in the world.
Federal policies routinely discriminate against Canadian Whisky and other domestically-produced
Spirits. Canada’s purported goal is to support local manufacturing and grow the country’s agrifood
processing exports, but many of our nation’s beverage alcohol policies contribute to the
opposite outcome. We respectfully suggest that, as a first modest step, each Member of
Parliament reject any foreign whisky offered on Parliament Hill and instead demand a Canadian
Whisky in its place.
More fundamentally, we would ask you to review the barriers to the growth in Canadian Spirits
production, from discriminatory excise duties, to inter-provincial trade barriers, to provincial
liquor board anti-competitive behaviours.
We have attached a short article by renowned author Davin de Kergommeaux that elegantly
expresses our disappointment in his recent Newsletter.