Alberta lifts ban on BC wine, citing end to pipeline 'threat'

British Columbia Premier John Horgan
The Canadian Press Darryl Dyck

25 February, 2018

"I think it is fair to say, in a small way, that B.C. blinked", said Notley.

Alberta is fine with this as long as the question is a straightforward one that focuses on dominion and whether B.C. can exert control over what goes through pipelines that traverse the province.

"I am suspending Alberta's retaliatory measures", Notley responded.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is temporarily ending her province's ban on B.C. wine after Premier John Horgan announced a new court action to defend rules that could stop Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

"Today's decision by an important step forward - one victory in a larger battle to break the landlock and get full value for one of Canada's most important products", Ms. Notley told reporters.

Leo Gebert said about 10 per cent of his wine is shipped to Alberta and any continuation of the ban could have crippled his business.

Notley defended the decision to end the wine ban despite some critics who say Horgan has not killed the issue, but simply moved the fight to a different battlefield.

But in Alberta, the same measure used to deter criminal activity and violence against oppressed citizens is now being used to put pressure on the B.C. government to remove restrictions on the Trans Mountain pipeline project.

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Editor's note: This article was updated at 7:10 p.m. ET on February 22, 2018 with additional information about a change in B.C.'s previously announced measures.

He added that his government had been in talks with the federal government on the legality of restricting oil flows to B.C., but he said: "They were disinclined to join us".

While some wineries in the Okanagan say they hadn't felt a big drop in sales, the ban did have an effect. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has too much on his plate, with other pressing matters to attend to like his trip to India for world trade.

"We believe it is our right to take appropriate measures to protect our environment, economy and our coast from the drastic outcome of a diluted bitumen spill", Horgan said. "We understand they need the jobs in the oil industry, and we need to look out for our environment..."

While the Alberta government isn't a player on the retail side of things, the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission (AGLC), an agent of Notley's provincial government, still regulates the sale of alcoholic beverages in that province.

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

Ralston said B.C. chose the CFTA to dispute Alberta's actions, rather than the NewWest Partnership, a trade agreement of the four Western provinces, because Alberta's boycott raises issues of a national interest "that should be considered by every jurisdiction in the federation".

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