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

FortisBC explains rate change proposal

FortisBC met with customers in Castlegar to explain their new time-of-use rate proposal.

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

MP Richard Cannings speaks to Castlegar council

Castlegar council also looks at FireSmart grants and free community movies.

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

Yelling vulgar slur at reporter not a crime says judge

Judge rules ‘vulgar’ slur against reporter was not a public disturbance

B.C. runner takes silver at Pan American cross-country championships

Tyler Dozzi’s medal pushes U20 Team Canada to gold finish

UBCO students to get medical cannabis coverage

Kelowna - The pilot project will be implemented in April

BC BUDGET: NDP push for purpose-built rentals in ‘historic’ $1.6B investment

Hundreds of thousands of new low- and middle-income units coming over three years

BC BUDGET: More for wildfire recovery, campsites

NDP government to hire 20 more Conservation Officers this year

BC BUDGET: Liberals blast ‘tax and spend’ plan

Payroll tax, carbon tax increase threaten growth, opposition critics say

Parts of B.C. see record-breaking temperatures in cold snap

Sechelt, Yoho National Park were the chilliest ever Monday

Claim dimissed against RCMP over 2008 B.C. woman’s murder

Mother of Lisa Dudley, shot in her home along with her partner, had alleged negligence

Most Read