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

Executive chef hosts National Honey Bee Day in Langford

The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and spa lost all of their honey bees last year

UPDATED: Materials linked to 1992 Colwood murder found at construction site in Metchosin

West Shore RCMP investigating to determine if relevant to the old case

Shamrocks hold 1-0 lead over Burrards

Bob Heyes said it is going to be a different game on Sunday in Maple Ridge

PHOTOS: Tour de Victoria takes off

1,800 cyclists took off in the Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria for a city-wide loop

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

BREAKING: Evacuation order issued in Island village due to “risk of falling debris”

Several homes in Zeballos are under an evacuation order as wildfires continue… Continue reading

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

Most Read