The B.C. premier has called on Alberta to back down on a threat issued to halt the import of all wines from British Columbia into the province. Alberta is known to have reacted on the ongoing feud over pipeline expansion. Speaking in the legislature in Edmonton, Premier Rachel Notley said the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission is halting all imports effective immediately. Notley said the province currently imports about 17 million bottles from B.C. wineries each year, or about 1.4 million cases. The annual value is about $70 million, Notley said.
The British Columbia Wine Institute said approximately 30 per cent of all wine sold in Alberta is from B.C., and it estimated the value at $160 million. Alberta is considered B.C.’s most important market outside of the province, the BCWI said. “This is one good step to waking B.C. up to the fact that they can’t attack our industry without a response from us,” Notley said. “Of course, this action will harm the B.C. wine industry, and I honestly wish it did not have to be this way,” she added. “We don’t take this lightly. Albertans didn’t want or invite this fight.”
She said the AGLC would also block direct sales between wineries and consumers.
Stemming the flow of alcohol is the latest in a series of forewarned consequences Alberta intends to impose on its neighbour to the west, part of an ongoing dispute over a pipeline expansion project.
Referring to B.C.’s attempt to hinder the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline an “unprovoked and unconstitutional attack,” Notley warned that blocking the project would have further legal and economic effects.