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.

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Albernians bundling up for Coldest Night of the Year event

Family-friendly event raises money for the homeless, hungry and hurting

Repurposing plaza in Alberni business district follows market trend

Public hearing for Fairway Market conversion set for March 12

Fisheries Act fix doesn’t go far enough, says Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

Not even close to what we need,’ MP Gord Johns says

Pension delays unacceptable, Courtenay-Alberni MP says

Some retiring vets, RCMP wait ‘months, years’

North Island College opens its doors to Alberni, west coast students

More than 200 Grade 11 students check out programs offered at Alberni campus

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

Vancouver Island job market ever-evolving

Various sectors driving employment in region will be represented at Black Press career fair in Comox Feb. 8

Emergency crews rescue pregnant woman after fall on mountain near Victoria

Roughly four-hour-long rescue includes firefighters from two departments

Nanaimo RCMP looking for suspect in alleged bank robbery

Police say a man robbed the Terminal Park TD Bank at about 3:40 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

Most Read