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Wine ban corked: Alta. suspends retaliatory measures against BC

Wine ban corked: Alta. suspends retaliatory measures against BC

Notley said she's not sure the B.C. courts will make a ruling on the clearly established constitutional rule that the federal government has the final say on what goes into trans-boundary pipelines.

According to the CBC, sales of B.C. wine in Alberta liquor stores netted wine industry in our province about $70 million past year, which is peanuts compared to the $7.4 billion construction and development price tag on the Trans Mountain pipeline.

She announced Alberta will suspend its embargo on B.C. wine imports, which began earlier this month.

On overwhelming 82 per cent of respondents in Alberta supported the province's stance in the dispute, while just 52 per cent of British Columbians supporting Premier John Horgan's argument. The pipeline expansion would triple the amount of bitumen transported from Alberta to tidewater in Burnaby, B.C.

Alberta's Opposition said the NDP government shouldn't let up on the pressure.

The central issue over the pipeline is still unresolved but, at least for now, BC's producers will be able to send their wine to Alberta - though Notley warned that, "if it becomes clear this action is in fact part of a deliberate strategy to harass the pipeline and its investors with frivolous or unconstitutional legal challenges, we will act immediately".

"The outcome of that reference will also be used to inform any next steps B.C. intends to use to defend our interests", Horgan said. "I think that the thing that we have to worry about is, will Albertans buy and consume B.C. wine now that the boycott is off".

Bilous said Alberta won't even come to the table unless B.C. reverses its decision to refuse additional oil from Alberta while it studies spill safety.

"This point has generated disproportionate and unlawful reactions from the government of Alberta", Horgan said.

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Within hours of the Alberta wine ban being lifted, Ex Nihilo Vineyards received a sizable order from the Alberta Liquor Depot. "And we are prepared to confirm that right in the courts".

Asked if the reference to the courts should be read as a sign B.C.is backing down, Horgan said "not at all".

Federal officials have been meeting with their B.C. counterparts to find a solution to the impasse.

"I believe we have the jurisdiction to proceed in all five areas", Horgan said.

"This is not about trade", he said.

"We believe it is our right to take appropriate measures to protect our environment, economy and our coast from the drastic effect of a diluted bitumen spill", Horgan said.

It's possible that some B.C. wineries might have looked to other markets, such as Manitoba, to pick up the slack on sales they've lost in Alberta (their largest domestic market), but we certainly couldn't have made up the difference alone.

"I'm confident that the courts will not give B.C. rights it does not possess under our Constitution", she said.

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