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 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 when 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

New book recounts devastating 2017 wildfire season

British Columbia Burning written by CBC journalist Bethany Lindsay

Pawnshops support curbing crime with digital database

At least two pawnshops in Penticton are in support of upgrading to a digital list of items purchased

Walk to end abuse for those who can’t

SOWINS’s Debbie Scarborough points to the lethal potential in intimate partner abuse

Measures urged to reduce risk of melanoma

May is designated as Melanoma Awareness Month

Flooding complicates summer fun, health authority warns

Avoid fast-flowing water such as creeks and rivers.

What’s happening

Find out what is happening around the valley this sunshine-filled May weekend

Two new fires now burning in the Shuswap

Fire crews gain control of Perry River blaze between Sicamous and Revelstoke

Man charged in 2015 Sicamous robbery to be sentenced in August

Accused, who was shot by police, pleads guilty to three of nine counts.

Unusually nasty odour repulses Chase residents

Village staff trying to get bacteria working in lagoons at sewage treatment plant

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Run for beer along Penticton’s Ale Trail

The second annual Penticton Beer Run takes place on June 2

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Most Read