BC Issues Formal Challenge Against Alberta's Wine Ban


On Monday, British Columbia filed a formal complaint under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement against Alberta for its decision to block B.C. wine from Alberta shelves.

Brenda Hetman-Craig is the co-owner of 40 Knots Winery in Comox and head of the Wine Island Vintners Association.

"I suspect we'll be dealing with a lot of these issues before you would ever get a decision under this Canadian Free Trade Agreement, which makes me question whether there's another strategy that the B.C. government could use", said Coulson, who has represented B.C. wineries in the past.

In addition to this trade challenge, the Province is supporting B.C.'s wine industry by proclaiming April as B.C. Wine Month.

"Alberta's actions threaten the livelihood of the families that have worked so hard to build B.C.'s world-class wine industry", Ralston said.

British Columbia has turned up the heat in a simmering trade dispute by launching a formal challenge against Alberta's ban on its wines.

"The Government of British Columbia is taking direct aim at the jobs and economic security of hundreds of thousands of Canadians, including tens of thousands of British Columbians, by threatening to limit what can go inside a pipeline - which they don't have the authority to do, " Bilous said in a statement.

According to the B.C. government, it will be the first trade dispute between provinces to be launched under the new CFTA.

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"We defend our actions vigorously on behalf of working people".

Miranda said the long-term economic impacts of cancelling pipelines to the Pacific Coast would be worse than any ban on beef or wine in either province.

Alberta halted purchases of wine from its western neighbor earlier this month, after B.C. proposed new rules to block increased oil shipments through the province, potentially holding up Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd's planned C$7.4 billion ($5.9 billion) Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Alberta's crude oil sells at a sharp discount on the North American market due to pipeline bottlenecks and to a lack of access to a better price on overseas markets.

WATCH: Rachel Notley announces Alberta will stop importing BC wine.

The B.C. government is fighting back against Alberta's boycott of B.C. wines, while simultaneously trying to fight that National Energy Board (NEB) over the Trans Mountain pipeline.

David Moscrop, a political scientist at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., said provinces regularly have disagreements, but it's rare for an issue to escalate into a trade war.