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

Notley lifts ban on BC wine imports in Alberta

The Big Taste, running from March 2-11, features over 90 Calgary restaurants, which offer three-course and five-course meals with wine pairings, often from B.C. - at least in restaurants owned by Sal Howell, such as The River Cafe and Deane House.

I wrote the same thing to Premier Rachel Notley some time ago and her reply indicated that Alberta already has considerably more refinery capacity than I realized.

Alberta's fight with B.C. began nearly a month ago, when B.C. Premier John Horgan announced the province planned to suspend taking additional oil from Alberta until it was sure B.C.'s coastline and waterways were safe from catastrophic oil spills.

That's resulted in an end to Alberta's two week wine boycott, and a truce between the provinces - for now.

"The B.C. government is now trying to break the rules of Confederation and ignore the national climate plan, choosing to agree with only parts of the federal decision".

Now it will ask the courts to decide whether it has the jurisdictional authority to carry through on its edict - a question the courts will nearly certainly answer with an emphatic no.

The foundation is a registered charity dedicated to defending constitutional rights and freedoms in the court or through public opinion. "In other words, I'm confident the constitution will be upheld and we will see the last of these ridiculous threats".

The news followed shortly after B.C. Premier John Horgan revealed his government is seeking clarification on the legality of its pipeline opposition in the courts.

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The government expects that will take several weeks to complete.

And B.C.'s wine industry says the retail value of the sector in Alberta is $160 million and approximately 30 per cent of wine sold in Alberta is produced or bottled in B.C.

The embargo was announced in early February by as a response to BC talk of delaying movement of diluted bitumen to the Lower Mainland.

When asked which province - B.C., which wants to delay the project for environmental reasons, or Alberta, which wants to avoid delays for economic reasons - is making the more compelling argument, Canadians were evenly split 50-50.

"The idea that pipelines are a divisive issue is nearly a cliché in Canada today, but the results of this study drive home just how divided the country really is", the Angus Reid Institute said in the report. "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".

The BC Wine Institute president goes on to say that the 276 wineries and 923 grape growers in the province provide over 12,000 people with jobs, and due to the continued political situation, they are now at risk.

Premier Horgan reiterated the value of the industry in his statement yesterday.

"In my opinion, Alberta is clearly violating both section 121 and its trade obligations, and harming small businesses, including small Alberta businesses", he says.

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