It’s been a frosty month along the B.C. Alberta border, but it appears the tension is thawing just in time for Spring.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced today that her province is ending its boycott of BC wine.
The news comes after B.C. Premier John Horgan appeared to blink first in the dispute, announcing his government will not proceed with proposed regulatory restrictions on the increase of diluted bitumen transportation.
Instead, B.C.'s government is filing a constitutional reference case on the issue, asking the courts if the province has the right to protect its environment by restricting diluted bitumen in the pipeline.
Through a series of Tweets, Notley said her government approved of the move saying “BC has stepped back from the brink and abiding by the law – and this is a good thing.”
A few points from my remarks today: In shelving Point 5 and asking the courts to give it a right they don't have, BC is stepping back from the brink and abiding by the law. #KeepCanadaWorking #ableg #cdnpoli— Rachel Notley (@RachelNotley) February 22, 2018
If it becomes clear that this action is part of a deliberate strategy to harass the pipeline and its investors with frivolous or unconstitutional legal challenges, we will act immediately. #KeepCanadaWorking #ableg #cdnpoli— Rachel Notley (@RachelNotley) February 22, 2018
Shortly before the boycott was lifted, Premier Horgan released this video where he announced his B.C. government will be using the courts to move forward with consultation around four bitumen spill safeguards.
We believe it is our right to take appropriate measures to defend BC's environment, economy and our coast from the drastic consequence of a diluted bitumen spill.— John Horgan (@jjhorgan) February 22, 2018
And we are prepared to confirm that right in the courts. #bcpoli pic.twitter.com/JVtB3SS4Xf
On Wednesday, the BC Wine Institute announced it would be challenging the constitutionality of the BC wine ban and be seeking an injunction to end it.
"We welcome the Alberta government’s decision to suspend the prohibition," said President of BC Wine, Miles Prodan. "However, uncertainty remains. 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.
"Over the course of the next few days, we will confer with legal counsel and our members to determine our path forward. We are, however, thrilled that Alberta consumers once again have the choice to purchase and enjoy BC wines, as they have long done."
Member of Parliment for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola Dan Albas said the provinces shouldn't be too quick to applaud the move.
Let’s not be quick to applaud either Premier Horgan or Notley for showing some constitutional sanity. They could have avoided harming BC or Alberta’s economies by not playing electoral constitutional chicken. They enabled the PM to remain aloof &to avoid acting like a PM. #bcwine— Dan Albas (@DanAlbas) February 22, 2018
More to come...