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Parliamentary wine contest a cruel joke, says B.C. winery owner

10/03/2014 11:46 EDT | Updated 12/03/2014 05:59 EST
Some winery owners in the B.C.'s Okanagan region are surprised a federal member of Parliament is inviting them to ship wine to Ottawa for a contest — despite laws making the shipments illegal for ordinary people.

Miranda Halliday, who owns Elephant Island Orchard Wines in Naramata, says the letter from Ontario MP Eve Adams came across as a cruel joke.

"Almost laughingly frustrating. It seemed sort of hysterical at some level," says Halliday.

The letter from the MP invited Halliday to participate in the Great Canadian Parliamentary Wine Competition.

Winners are invited to sell cases of their wine directly to parliamentarians and their staff, the letter reads.

Halliday says it's confusing, because there are provincial laws and interprovincial trade barriers that prohibit wineries from shipping to Ontario — trade barriers Halliday and others in B.C. have been fighting to remove.

"It's that resigned frustration. It's just been going on for so long," says Halliday.

"It would probably have been better tagged the great Ontario Parliamentarian Wine Competition. Because honestly I don't know who else would be able to enter at this point," says Halliday.

Vancouver lawyer Mark Hicken says parliamentarians have exemptions to the trade barriers, meaning they can buy the B.C. wine when others can't.

"You know it's one rule for the politicians and a different rule for all the other Canadians," says Hicken.

MP Eve Adams was not immediately available for comment.

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