Alberta ends BC wine boycott

The Canadian province of Alberta has lifted its boycott on importing wines from neighbouring British Columbia after just two weeks as BC moved to challenge the ban in Federal courts.

Okanagan FallsThe lifting of the boycott was announced by Alberta’s premier, Rachel Notley, yesterday (Thursday 22 February) after BC’s premier, John Horgan, said he would no longer oppose increased bitumen imports and further announced that his government would be turning to Federal courts in an attempt to resolve the issue.

“In a small way, BC blinked,” Notley is reported to have said.

The British Columbia Wine Institute issued a statement to the effect: “The BC Wine Institute yesterday notified the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) of its intent to challenge the constitutionality of the Alberta BC wine ban and seek an injunction to end it.

“Today, we welcome the Alberta government’s decision to suspend the prohibition. However, uncertainty remains. We remain concerned that any provincial government believes it has the constitutional authority to impose trade bans on Canadian products based on their place of origin.

“Over the course of the next few days, we will confer with legal counsel and our members to determine our path forward. We are, however, thrilled that Alberta consumers once again have the choice to purchase and enjoy BC wines, as they have long done.”

The boycott was implemented earlier this month as part of a spat between the two provinces over the building of an oil pipeline from Alberta to the Pacific coastline of BC.

Alberta, Canada’s oil producing province, wants the pipeline while many in BC oppose it.

The central issue over the pipeline is still unresolved but, at least for now, BC’s producers will be able to send their wine to Alberta – though Notley warned that, “if it becomes clear this action is in fact part of a deliberate strategy to harass the pipeline and its investors with frivolous or unconstitutional legal challenges, we will act immediately.”

One Response to “Alberta ends BC wine boycott”

  1. Don Kellett says:

    I agree with Premier Notley that BC blinked – they said they would test their ban on increased bitumen shipments in the courts rather than unilaterally imposing it. By opening his big mouth without checking first to see if he could legally do it, Horgan caused this whole mess. And although Alberta will now import BC wine, if the issues rises again, the consumers and restaurant owners in Alberta can impose their own boycott – and inter-provincial trade can do nothing about that. From my experience with Albertans, I would anticipate that they would do this – already they have a bad taste in their mouths about this BC government and our wineries unfortunately are getting impacted. I would expect that there will be a decrease in consumption of BC wine in Alberta for a while now because of this consumer backlash.

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