B.C. Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston and Premier John Horgan. (B.C. government)

B.C. files challenge to Alberta wine trade ban

First formal dispute under Canadian Free Trade Agreement

The B.C. NDP government is using an interprovincial trade deal reached under the previous government to challenge Alberta’s move to block B.C. wine at the border.

It’s the first action under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement’s dispute resolution system, said Bruce Ralston, B.C.’s jobs, trade and technology minister. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley surprised B.C. by announcing the wine ban shortly after the B.C. government announced its plan to restrict diluted bitumen transport via an expanded TransMountain pipeline from Alberta to southwestern B.C. port facilities.

“Alberta’s action threatens the livelihood of families that have worked so hard to build B.C.’s world-class wine industry,” Ralston said. “These actions are inconsistent with Alberta’s obligations under the CFTA, and we will protect our reputation and the interests of British Columbians.”

Speaking to reporters after the filing, Ralston said the action has to be filed within 120 days of a suspected violation, and B.C. has a solid case that barring its wine from Alberta stores isn’t allowed. The initial discussion is between provincial officials and there is a “strong possibility” it could be solved without being referred for a ruling, he said.

“What we’re concerned about now is the opportunity to discuss this issue and to dialogue with the government of Alberta about the issues that are raised,” Ralston said.

Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have insisted that B.C. does not have the authority to hold up a pipeline project that falls under federal jurisdiction.

RELATED: B.C. files new court action against pipeline project

B.C. Liberal critic Jas Johal said Alberta is retaliating against an NDP government acting like a “banana republic” trying to change the rules of a pipeline project after it has been approved.

The previous B.C. Liberal government pushed to open up trade between provinces, establishing its own agreement with Alberta and Saskatchewan that came to be known as the New West Partnership. It bound provinces to permit free flow of goods and labour across provincial borders, and became the basis for the broader CFTA.

Just Posted

Regional district changes decision on vote results of 3L amendment request

Amendment request was defeated by board Tuesday; ruling overturned by staff Wednesday

Riverfront proposal in Comox Valley remains on hold

Directors consider application a standard amendment

MusicFest weekend in the Comox Valley ‘fantastic’

With clear skies and warm temperatures bathing the crowd at the Comox… Continue reading

Island Health announces addition of 38 beds for seniors care in the Comox Valley

17 beds at Comox Valley hospital; 21 beds at St. Joe’s

VIDEO: North Island Hospital heliport flight testing

Island Health, in conjunction with Helijet, tested the heliports Tuesday as part… Continue reading

Comox Valley soccer camp growing

Annual camp includes younger kids

Bob Castle’s Under the Glacier cartoon for July 19, 2018

Bob Castle’s Under the Glacier cartoon for July 19, 2018… Continue reading

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Cumberland businesses on board with potential single-use plastic ban

Mayor Leslie Baird heartened by support for the initiative

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Most Read