Alberta lifts ban on BC wine imports

by Abel Hampton February 25, 2018, 1:45
Alberta lifts ban on BC wine imports

"I think it is fair to say that in a small way today B.C. blinked", Notley told reporters at the legislature in Edmonton.

Monday, B.C.'s industry indicated it was grateful for the challenge, but remains wary of the time such a dispute process might take, according to a statement from B.C. Wine Institute CEO Miles Prodan.

Notley isn't specifying the options being looked at, but on Thursday suggested there will be further retaliatory action if Alberta believes trying to stall the Trans Mountain expansion.

Premier Rachel Notley's February 6 ban of B.C. wines in Alberta - which was lifted late Thursday - saw the province flex its muscles in response to issues surrounding the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, which runs from Notley's province to the B.C. coast.

The next day, unrelatedly, B.C. Premier John Horgan shifted his province's position slightly in the trade dispute, and Notley lifted the ban on B.C. wine in Alberta.

Trudeau's position on this issue puts him in conflict with the almost two-thirds of Metro Vancouver residents who find their provincial government's argument more persuasive than the 42 per cent who oppose the pipeline.

"Indeed, the strongest opposition to the pipeline's expansion is found not in B.C., but Quebec", Angus Reid said.

Trudeau said in the interview that the pipeline was key to getting Alberta to contribute to meeting Canada's climate change goals.

However, B.C. demands are backed up by American and Canadian scientists who have warned that there are significant gaps and uncertainties in the science related to how to clean up a bitumen spill in water.

Moving ahead in the dispute, B.C.'s government said it plans to launch a legal challenge of the boycott on B.C. wine through the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, which went into effect past year.

We don't know what pressures Ottawa was putting on the province to drop the demand, or make it go away by sending it to the courts.

Horgan says not backing down but is hoping cooler heads will prevail. "We hope that the AGLC will take this opportunity to end the unfair targeting of the B.C. wine industry", he said. The appeal may now be moot, since Notley has said she is repealing the boycott.

"I believe we have the jurisdiction to proceed in all five areas, and we'll test that fifth area", he said.

Kevin McKinnon, manager of Marquis Wine Cellars in Vancouver, says the ban didn't impact sales much in this province, where some were calling for a "buy local" movement in the face of it. "And it's about B.C.'s right to defend itself against actions that may threaten our people, our province and our future".

"I'm confident that the courts will not give B.C. rights it does not possess under our Constitution", she said.

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