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

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.

BC WineTransMountain

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Teagan Hunt (Grade 12) and Aiden Grew (Grade 11) are the 2020 winners of Lambrick Park’s annual Queen & King of the Hill demanding race up Mount Doug’s Churchill Drive. (Photo courtesy of Tom Turnbull)
Lambrick King of the Hill wins Cedar Hill time trial

Aiden Grew sets course record for gruelling King of the Hill run

Shea Smith is one of three creators of The Homeless Idea podcast. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Victoria podcasters talks homelessness first-hand

Three homeless Victoria residents created The Homeless Idea to give themselves a voice

The president and chief executive officer of BC Ferries promises additional reviews to help sustain BC Ferries. (Black Press Media File)
BC Ferries to review expenditures following 43 per cent passenger drop in 2020

Promise from CEO follows new figures showing significant decline in passengers

Local MLA Adam Olsen, a member of the Tsartlip Nation, here seen before the 2020 provincial election, said a new report finding “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in the provincial health care system does not surprise Indigenous people. (Hansard TV)
MLA, Tsartlip member says ‘silo’ approach won’t work dealing with racism in health care

Adam Olsen calls for comprehensive approach in dealing with systemic racism

The University of Victoria will mark the eighth annual Giving Tuesday with its Add Sprinkles campaign which collects funds to support various student initiatives across campus. (Photo courtesy UVic Photo Services)
Nearly 150 Greater Victoria groups prepare for eighth annual Giving Tuesday

Last year Canadians raised nearly $22 million in 24 hours

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

The CVRD will reconsider its policies on fireworks after receiving complaints. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Regional District considers options for fireworks after complaints

Distict only allows fireworks on Halloween and New Year’s Eve, with a permit

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Most Read