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.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Giants fall to Royals 4-2 in Victoria Saturday night

Second loss in as many days for G-Men, who are back home in Langley today to take on the Cougars.

Driver fined for hitting scooter in Langley City

Woman on scooter suffered minor injuries, police said

Langley Gators take Tsumura provincial basketball championships

Walnut Grove outscored their foes by 30 points per game

VIDEO: why the founder of Kimz Angels feels it’s “sad” the charitable group has grown

Will be accepting donations all day Sunday at the IGA in Murrayville

Spreading Christmas cheer around Aldergrove

Easing the pains and difficulties of hard times is ‘reason for the season’

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

Most Read