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

Ban on retail pot in Chilliwack until legalization comes into effect

City ready to draft a special zone for marijuana retail operations

Horses and science combine for new program at CSS

‘I get to do something I’m passionate about,’ says Chilliwack equine studies student

Automatic sprinkler system snuffs out fire at Chilliwack care facility

Firefighters highly recommend installing similar systems in homes to prevent serious damage

Clippers out-skate Chiefs for ninth win in a row

The Nanaimo Clippers defeated the Chilliwack Chiefs by a 4-1 score Wednesday at Frank Crane Arena

Chilliwack is ready for a little more snow

City Operations crews have been applying brine to Chilliwack roads in preparation for more snow

VIDEO: B.C. superfans soak in 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

Trio, including two from the Okanagan, have been cheering on Summerland Olympian Kripps among others in Korea

More snow expected on the Coquihalla, Highway 3

Environment Canada says five to 10 centimetres will come down between Friday and Saturday mornings

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

B.C. government announces court reference on proposed diluted bitumen restriction

Lane closures on Alex Fraser, Port Mann bridges considered to avoid ‘ice bombs’

Province spent $5 million clearing both bridges last years

UPDATE: Northern Health dealing with lack of 121 registered nurses

Auditor General says officials need to improve internal management, track effect of new policies

B.C. businesses say new health tax will raise prices for consumers

Province announced that MSP will be gone by 2020

Most Read