Premier stands behind boycott of BC wine

Friday, 09 Feb, 2018

"I have made it clear to both of them the interest of British Columbia are my responsibility, I take very seriously and I will be resolute in protecting the interest of this great province".

"We are calling on the premier to think very serious about the severity of the actions and the path that they're undertaking here".

Last week, the B.C. government created more uncertainty for the future of the $7.4-billion pipeline project to the West Coast by announcing plans for more consultations on oil spill readiness and a limit on increased diluted bitumen shipments until it's confident in response measures.

Q: What you call prudent, Premier Notley - whom you say you respect - calls a violation of the Constitution, that the development has already been approved by the appropriate federal agencies and the B.C. government is over-reaching its provincial powers.

Alberta responded by halting talks on purchasing electricity from B.C. before it banned wine imports from its neighbour.

The boycott against B.C. wine, a growing and beloved provincial industry, got his attention.

"I'm also encouraging all Albertans: next time you're thinking about ordering a glass of wine, think of our energy workers. Clearly the federal government doesn't think so and many British Columbians don't think so", Horgan said. "That would not be something we would support or would advocate for and I don't believe it's something that we would even consider". So, he decided to make and bottle the wine in Penticton but sell it all in Alberta. "So what Notley is effectively asking for is Horgan's resignation".

While the ban is tough for British Columbia wine producers, it sounds like it may provide a marketing opportunity for Nova Scotia's growing wine sector, but not so fast.

"I understand her passion for Alberta [but] I see no ground for the premier to stand on [in arguing otherwise]", he said.

While the dispute between B.C. and Alberta simmered Wednesday, reaction continued to boil.

"I don't know why our industry is being dragged into this", Christa-Lee McWatters, chair of the B.C. Wine Institute, told the Courier shortly after the decision was announced.

The Alberta-B.C. feud is politically messy for Trudeau, but it could have been worse. "These are small craft outfits and every sale helps and makes a difference to them".

"I never thought it would go this far", said Karen Collins on Tuesday from Fort McMurray.

But not everyone is on Alberta's side in the dispute.

The premier noted in 2017, B.C. wine imports equaled roughly 17.2 million bottles (about $70 million).

"The damage is done instantly, no matter what", he says.

Moe said his province supports Alberta in its fight but will look at other options to fight the B.C. proposal, either through the courts or inter-provincial trade agreements.

"If the ban in B.C. wine continues, we are going to be the epicenter of people coming through and I better order more wine, right?" said Flint Palmer, the manager of Truffle Pig Bistro.

Heather Hynes-Dawson, who speaks on behalf of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, says the AGLC doesn't drive the specifics of the liquor products that are sold at retail outlets around Alberta.

"The small independent wine makers, family-run businesses; this is their only livelihood".

Don't get me wrong; BC does need to be taught a lesson and I absolutely think boycotts and buycotts are effective.