by SUSAN MANN
An Ontario government committee today defeated a private member’s bill to allow fruit wineries to sell their products at farmers’ markets.
Conservative MPP Bob Runciman, who represents Leeds-Grenville, says the five Liberals on the Legislature’s regulations and private bills committee voted against each clause of the proposed bill during a review. “They didn’t explain why. They didn’t even really speak to it. They just voted against it.”
The committee also has two Conservative and one NDP member.
Runciman, who proposed the bill, says the Liberals sent their chief whip to the committee to ensure the bill was killed. The chief whip isn’t normally on the committee.
Liberal Chief Whip Mike Colle wasn’t immediately available for comment.
Bert Andrews, spokesman for Fruit Wines of Ontario, says he’s trying to figure out why the bill was defeated. “They had no reason for turning this down.”
Andrews says those who have been pushing for the legislation don’t have any other options now for introducing fruit wine sales at farmers markets. “As far as I can see, it’s just going to die for now. It’s ridiculous, quite frankly.”
Runciman says he doesn’t have any plans to introduce another bill. “I don’t think there’s any point.” BF