Failed Diplomacy: Alberta Wine Ban on BC
There is no doubt that retaliation on British Columbia’s restriction on federally approved Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion into BC is necessary. However, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s decision to ban BC wines is a horrible diplomatic move that will further divide the two provinces. The impact of the wine ban on BC is significant, with an estimated retail value of $160 million each year in Alberta. Not to mention Premier Notley’s hinting about banning BC craft beers as well.
Here are two NDP Premiers, who are both arguably committing horrific negligence. First, Premier Notley is acting like a bully to small family-owned businesses in BC, as well as affecting Albertan restaurants which are dependent on imports from BC. BC’s Premier John Horgan’s inaction in merely holding a press conference with no actual retaliation to Alberta’s wine ban and possible craft beer ban, is a show of the BC NDP’s weakness. At the very minimum, Premier Horgan should fly to Edmonton and engage in talks with Premier Notley before this conflict gets out of hand. But this is more than simply an inter-provincial dispute, as the pipeline is under federal jurisdiction and the Prime Minister has every right to allow the pipeline expansion into BC. Yet Pr
ime Minister Justin Trudeau allows the conflict to linger on and compromises Canada’s national interests in doing so.
Government is supposed to, at least in theory, have the best interest of its citizens in mind. This is, however, nothing more than a political reality show with the Alberta Premier and Prime Minister thinking about their elections in the near future. Additionally, the BC Premier is compromising to BC Green’s anti-pipeline stance in a minority government.
Canada is known for its diplomacy and Canada’s very own former Prime Minister, Lester B. Pearson, earned the Nobel Peace Prize for exactly that, yet either sides are willing to come together to form any agreement. The BC-Alberta border is not a demilitarized zone, and, thus far, our diplomacy has been slightly more civilized than a high-school debate club. If this BC-Alberta conflict becomes a trade war, the economic costs could reach into the billions, according to Maclean’s magazine. A trade war would cause lost jobs, and significantly impact businesses, which is not something that Canadian citizens want. Further bans will not resolve this issue. Instead, talks between BC, Alberta, and the Federal government that acknowledge both BC's concern for the environment and the necessity of the oil industry for Alberta's survival are necessary.