B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson (left), seen here with Kelowna West Liberal candidate Ben Stewart, gets some wine advice from Sandhill Estate Winery manager Patricia Lesley Friday during a stop in Kelowna.—Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Wilkinson wades into war of words over wine

New Liberal leader blames B.C. premier for starting trade fight with Alberta

New B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson is laying the blame for the current trade dispute with Alberta that has stopped the flow of B.C. wine into that province directly at the feet of Premier John Horgan.

Wilkinson was in Kelowna Friday where he accused Horgan of picking a fight with Alberta over the Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, a fight that has prompted Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to “pick a fight” with the B.C. wine industry.

“Premier John Horgan has decided to pick a fight with Alberta that is probably going to lead to a constitutional challenge and in which British Columbia will probably lose in the courts,” said Wilkinson, a trained lawyer and doctor.

“In response, the Alberta government, run by an NDP premier, has picked a fight with the B.C. wine industry…This puts the whole industry at risk.”

In response to Horgan saying he planned to consult more about the pipeline project through B.C. and look at limiting the amount of bitumen the pipeline can carry from the Oil Sands in Northern Alberta to Vancouver for shipment overseas, Notley this week announced her liquor distribution branch would stop importing B.C. wine.

Wilkinson urged Horgan to “swallow his pride,” fly to Edmonton and settle the dispute with Notley as quickly as possible.

Approval of the pipeline project rests with the federal government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said it will proceed and is in the national interest. The former B.C. Liberal government, under then-premier Christy Clark, signed off on approval of the pipeline after being assured B.C. would have “world-class” spill response measures put in place for both land and water oil spills.

In opposition, and during last May’s election campaign, Horgan opposed the pipeline project.

As for Notley’s decision to target B.C. wine—a move made as the Kelowna West byelection is about to be held in a riding in the heart of the province’s wine country—Wilkinson sees it as a “fundamental attack” on the B.C. wine industry.

“The wine industry is now under siege, wine workers are facing a challenge that is totally unnecessary, that has been created by a squabble between two NDP governments,” he said during media event at Kelowna’s Sandhill Winery Friday morning.

“The people who will pay the price are the people in the B.C. wine industry.”

Last year, Albertans bought 7.2 million bottles of B.C. wine in their province, spending around $70 million, according to Notley. The total value of the B.C. wine industry is estimated at $2.8 billion and it employs 15,000 people.

“This a completely unnecessary schoolyard squabble between the Alberta government and the B.C. government and picked by John Horgan and the (B.C.) NDP,” said Wilkinson. “What we need is sober second-thought.”

“My suggestion is it’s high time John Horgan swallowed his pride, showed some leadership and gets on a plane to Edmonton and solves this problem.”

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



awaters@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Highway 3A reopened after mudslide cleared

A mudslide closed Highway 3A between Castlegar and Nelson just north of the Brilliant Dam on Wednesday.

New and expanding businesses abound around Castlegar

Fourteen vacant commercial spaces have been filled in recent months

Addressing the opioid crisis in Castlegar

Decriminalization is key to providing proper support for people who use drugs, a conference heard.

Castlegar shares draft 2018 budget

Property owners can expect to see a 3.5% property tax increase — about $39 for the typical home.

Localized flooding on Bloomer Creek

Castlegar’s Oglow subdivision experienced some flooding due to failure of a private culvert.

Lt.-Gov. Guichon believes she made the right decision in last B.C. election

Outgoing Lt.-Gov Judith Guichon said her most memorable moments weren’t surrounding the election

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Pulp mill fined $900,000 for leaking effluent into B.C. lake

Mackenzie Pulp Mill pleaded guilty to depositing deleterious substance into water frequented by fish

B.C.’s 2-year lobbying ban starts May 1

Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists can grant exemptions from the prohibition if public interest

Horgan speaks of government’s successes to ‘friends’ at CUPE BC convention

CUPE BC president Paul Faoro said was first time a B.C. premier addressed convention in some time

Speed Skating Canada fires coach Michael Crowe after investigation

Crowe was a coach on the American team from 1983 to 1991 and again from 1999 to 2006

5 things to know about the ongoing influx of asylum seekers in Canada

Number of illegal border crossings are up this year – as RCMP, military, politicians try to combat

VIDEO: Smokers talk pot rules at annual 4-20 event

Annual pot protest-meets-festival in Vancouver attracted hundreds to vendors, concert

Most Read