June 19th, 2018

Don’t make B.C. wine producers the target

By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on February 9, 2018.

Premier Rachel Notley’s annoyance with British Columbia’s stance regarding the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is understandable.

Completion of the project in order to get crude oil from the Alberta oilsands to the West Coast, and from there to markets, is important to this province. We are, after all, heavily dependent on the oil industry to help drive the economy.

However, the Alberta premier’s move to drag B.C.’s wine producers into the fray seems misguided.

By announcing that the Alberta government will ban imports of B.C. wine, Notley is retaliating for B.C.’s move last week to propose a ban on increased shipments of diluted bitumen to its coast until it can determine the system’s safety and its ability to deal with a potential oil spill.

“This is one step to waking B.C. up to the fact that they can’t attack our industry without a response from us,” Notley said Tuesday. “The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Control Board will put an immediate halt to the import of B.C. wine into Alberta.”

While the measure might seem to make sense as a strike-back strategy in the ongoing pipeline dispute between the two provinces, the tactic comes across as rather petty when viewed with an objective eye. Alberta is essentially taking hostage independent wine producers in B.C. who are far from the political decision-making process.

As Miles Prodan, president of the B.C. Wine Institute, noted in a Canadian Press story in Thursday’s Herald, “They’re harming actual small farmers, which is ironic coming from a province like Alberta that understands agriculture and farming and all that goes into that. Why they’re picking on fellow farmers is hard to understand.”

Prodan said Alberta represents the B.C. wine industry’s second biggest market outside of B.C. itself, with an estimated $160 million in retail wine sales to Alberta each year, well beyond the $70 million estimate Notley put forward.

The CP story also quoted a B.C. wine producer, Jason Ocenas, who was dismayed by what he called “a minor spat” between the two provinces.

“Alberta doesn’t grow grapes, so they don’t do wine,” said Ocenas. “The same way we drink their rye and eat their beef, we celebrate what they do and they celebrate what we do. And it would be nice if we could continue that.”

Previously, Notley threatened that Alberta would halt talks with B.C. over the purchase of electricity from B.C. because of the pipeline dispute.

Notley is right to push for the completion of the Trans Mountain project, but Alberta should do so while keeping the focus on the issue. Use political processes to fight the battle rather than dragging unrelated industries – and people – into the crossfire of the dispute.

Pulling B.C. wine producers into the conflict as innocent hostages seems like sour grapes.

Comment on this editorial online at https://www.lethbridgeherald.com/


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8 Responses to “Don’t make B.C. wine producers the target”

  1. zulu1 says:

    This is what happens when there is no adult supervision in Ottawa. If our PM had any political courage he could end this conflict overnight, by enforcing the Feds jurisdiction over interprovincial pipelines.
    He likely won’t because he is more interested in international travel at Canadians expense, than he is in fulfilling his responsibilities at home.

  2. biff says:

    notley is picking a fight with the apples producers, when the issue has to do with oranges. as dumb as it gets.
    as for the pipe lines, how dumbass can people be to accept them as is. they leak, they poison, they foul, they destroy. bc is holding out for guarantees that spills will be cleaned effectively, not with usual lie-based “assurances” that all the pipelines have built upon. hard to believe that with all the awful history and present failings of these sordid lines, that anyone with a speck of common sense and decency would advocate for, or even accept them.

    • zulu1 says:

      Every resource based nation in the world transports it’s oil by pipeline,since it is the safest transportation method. Canada depends on it’s resources to provide the services that the population has come to expect from it’s governments. .Any move to leave the resources in the ground would be stupid beyond belief, however that is what the American liberal foundations -, through their useful idiot lackey environmentalists groups would have Canada do. So far they have been remarkably successful.

      We are dumber than we look !!!

      • biff says:

        ok, so an atom bomb is safer than a nuclear bomb so that makes the former acceptable? force the creation and maintenance of safe transport – that is what bc is holding out for. how does one fault them for that? find a new god to worship – the oil and money god is atrocious.

      • already extinct says:

        Zulu1 – to the head of the class, you are completely correct, especially the “any move to leave the resources in the ground would be……..”

        This country is being surpassed in so many ways by other advancing jurisdictions on this planet, climbing out of the dark age of poverty et al – all traced back to petroleum, – as hard as that may be for some to grasp or admit.

      • Montreal13 says:

        Zulu1- totally agree. well said.

  3. johnny57 says:

    Unfortunately BC wine producers are collateral damage in this spat!..But somebody has to take the bullet. The pipeline has been approved its time to get it built-put people to work building it and stop playing the childish games that their government is engaging itself in.
    If this does not move the process along quicker it might be high time to hit their number one export!..Lets start checking their lumber at the border for pine beetle. That should get their attention and cooperation in a hurry.
    A little leadership from Mr. flare and no substance in Ottawa would not hurt.

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