Alberta announces it's ending BC wine boycott over pipeline dispute

Feb 23 2018, 7:59 am

After what’s been almost a month of back-and-forth between BC and Alberta over the issue of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, the Alberta government announced on Thursday that it is ending its boycott of BC wine.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley made the announcement at a late-afternoon press conference, in response to an announcement by BC Premier John Horgan that his government would bring the question of whether BC has the legal ability to stop the flow of bitumen before the courts.

“Given BC’s decision today, I am suspending Alberta’s retaliatory measures,” she said.

Horgan made his announcement shortly before Notley’s press conference.

The BC premier said his government was moving forward with consultation around four bitumen spill safeguards, while referring to the courts the issue regarding BC’s right to protect its coast.

In doing so, Notley said, “BC has stepped back from the brink and abiding by the law – and this is a good thing.”

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She called BC’s decision “an important step forward – one small step in the larger battle to break the landlock and get full value for one of Canada’s most important products.”

Notley aded she was “confident” that the courts will not “give BC rights it does not possess, under our constitution… and we will have seen the last of these ridiculous threats.”

However, she added, “if it become clear that this action is in fact part of a deliberate strategy to harass the pipeline and its investors with frivolous or constitutional legal challenges, we will act immediately.”

Canada “can’t operate” with a provincial government that acts like its a separate country, she added. “That’s no way to build an economy that works for every Canadian in every province and it’s no way to advance our shared goals to tackle climate change and to protect Canada’s coast.”

Alberta will ‘not back down’

Notley clarified that Alberta has “never objected” to BC’s desire to “ensure that our national coastline is protected with the highest standards possible.”

But, she added, “we will not back down [from] defending Alberta’s interests against those who would violate our country’s laws in order to hurt our economy, to undermine our climate leadership plan, or to harm the economic security of hundreds of thousands of working Canadians.”

To that end, “the work of our market access task force continues.”

Asked if BC’s premier “blinked first” in this dispute or if it was more of a “face-saving measure,” Notley responded that “it’s fair to say, in a small way, that BC blinked.”

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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