B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver speaks in West Kelowna Friday about Alberta’s ban on importing B.C. wine and B.C. Premier John Horgan’s position on the planned Trans Mountain Pipeline.—Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

B.C. Green leader supports Premier Horgan in wine battle

Andrew Weaver calls the Alberta premier’s B.C. wine ban response “petty”

New B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson was not the only top provincial politician to stop in the Kelowna West riding Friday to speak out about Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s ban on imports of B.C. wine in her province.

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver was also in the riding Friday, but while he agreed with Wilkinson that Notley’s decision to instruct her provincial liquor control board to stop importing B.C. wine was wrong, he said he supports B.C. Premier John Horgan’s stance on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline.

It was Horgan’s announcement that he wants to challenge the environmental assessment process used to approve the project that prompted Notley to target B.C. wines.

“I think Notley’s pettiness will backfire,” predicted Weaver, saying he’s already seen other provinces speak out in support of B.C. wines.

The B.C. Green Party leader said the first thing he did after hearing about Alberta’s wine ban was to go out and buy three bottles of Okanagan wine and post pictures of himself and his purchases on social media while encouraging others to do the same.

He joked one of the bottles he bought was from Dirty Laundry Winery, symbolic, he felt, because it’s two NDP premiers who are battling each other and while they lead provincial NDP government, they are both members of the national NDP.

“They’re airing their own dirty laundry,” he said during his stop at Volcanic Hills Winery in West Kelowna.

Feature Friday: Wine war puts Okanagan vintners in tough position

Meanwhile, Bobby Gidda, owner of Volcanic Hills Winery, said if the Alberta wine ban lasts longer than a few months, he will start to feel the economic impact.

He said as a small winery, Alberta is is a major market for his wine. While he just shipped wine there last week before the ban was announced, he said that should only last about 1 1/2 months.

“My markets are B.C. and Alberta,” he said, adding he expects many other small wineries are in the position his winery is in.

On the pipeline issue, Weaver said he supports Horgan’s position and feels the premier is doing the right thing in the interest of British Columbians and the environment. And he says Notley is wrong to oppose that.

He dismissed her contention Horgan’s actions are unconstitutional and illegal and said the environmental assessment process used to approve the pipeline project was flawed.

And that, he said, if proven in court, could shut down the project.

At the heart of his concern is the possibility of a spill of diluted bitumen, a product used in the refinement of oil and much harder to clean up than oil.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—whose federal government has the final say on the pipeline project—has said the project will go ahead, Weaver slammed him for “playing politics” with the issue.

He said Trudeau has not lived up to previous commitments made about protecting the environment by allowing the Trans Mountain Pipeline project to proceed.

“Mr. Trudeau is being a hypocrite on this,” said Weaver. “Mr. Trudeau is saying one thing and doing another.”

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