John Horgan won’t retaliate in pipeline feud with Alberta

B.C. premier calls his counterpart’s wine ban a ‘distraction’ and hopes conflict will cool

Premier John Horgan says he will not retaliate against Alberta’s ban on B.C. wine as a result of his government’s actions to halt progress on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

But he added the NDP government will not back down from its fight to nix the $7.4-billion project that would triple the pipeline’s capacity to transport crude from Alberta to the B.C. coast, nor will it end its support for the B.C. wine industry in what has become a trade war between the two provinces.

“I certainly hope we’ve seen the end of the back and forth,” Horgan told a news conference in Victoria on Wednesday. “I don’t believe it’s in anyone’s interest to have duelling premiers.”

The comments come a day after Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced her province would stop importing B.C. wines, adding that such a ban could cost that sector up to $17 million.

Horgan said Notley’s tactics won’t get in the way of his government’s Throne Speech next week.

“I want to resolve this, but I’m not going to be distracted.”

Horgan said Ian Anderson, the president of Kinder Morgan Canada, has met with government officials since the NDP announced its proposal to limit bitumen transports off the B.C. coast until it can determine that shippers are prepared and able to properly clean up a spill.

In a statement to Black Press Media, Kinder Morgan called the recent political duel “unfortunate.”

“It is Trans Mountain’s intention to put people to work and to create jobs and opportunities through our expansion project, so it is unfortunate that any of this has happened, even tangentially,” the statement said. “We have operations, employees and community relationships spanning both provinces.”

Is a boycott effective?

From oil to electricity to wine – and speculation that beer and beef could be next – consumers and retailers are keeping a close eye on whether another province bans a product.

But are Alberta’s protectionist methods useful?

“What we’re doing is reducing the ability for consumers to enjoy a product that they were previously enjoying,” said economist Ross Hickey, a professor at UBC Okanagan.

“As far as I know, there isn’t an Alberta wine industry that can benefit from higher prices – this is purely political.”

READ MORE: Alberta’s B.C. wine ban condemned by Kelowna West byelection candidates

Hickey said the “tit-for-tat” strategy playing out is taking away from what was originally a progressive trade agreement between provinces.

Canada doesn’t have a free provincial trade agreement, he said, so it’s rare for trade wars to happen between them. In 2009, Alberta and B.C. agreed to an inter-provincial agreement allowing the trade of wine.

Historically, Hickey said trade wars typically end when one side begins to lose too much.

“When marijuana is legalized in Canada, and it’s possible for people of Alberta to buy British Columbia-produced marijuana, I’m pretty sure the calls for boycotts of each others’ goods and services from the other provinces are going to be gone.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ex-Kelowna city councillor reappointed to ALC

Gerry Zimmermann accepts another two year term to Agricultural Land Commission.

UBCO celebrates 15th year by highlighting alumni artworks

Former fine arts students are to show their work at the Kelowna Art Gallery

Cover up your trash, keep bears out: Regional District of Central Okanagan

There have been several bear sightings in South East Kelowna, West Kelowna and Peachland

Major UBCO bus changes from Vernon eliminate Oyama, include Kelowna

Oyama Isthmus loop removed, stop across from Kelowna airport added

Little White Mountain wildfire remains at 15 hectares

The lightning-caused fire is currently considered ‘out of control’

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

Interior Health reports four new cases of COVID-19

First hospitalization since mid-August announced

Rail traffic starts moving after 60-car derailment near Hope

Clean up effort ongoing after 60 cars carrying potash crashed along a rail bridge

Spoon-wielding man draws police presence in Penticton

Police say no one was harmed during the incident

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Most Read