Red Deer Chamber of Commerce CEO Robin Bobocel likes an occasional glass of B.C. wine, but will happily forgo having any until the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline is twinned.
“There’s lots of other (wine) options, for sure,” said Bobocel, who regrets the impact of Alberta ban’s on the B.C. wine industry, but hopes it will serve as an effective short-term measure.
Bobocel stressed his support for Alberta’s energy sector.
Although “I don’t like to see any business suffer,” Bobocel added he’s pleased Alberta’s NDP government is taking B.C.’s hindering of the pipeline seriously.
“I’m glad that Alberta has responded in a meaningful way.”
Giving a thumbs up for Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s retaliatory ban of B.C. wine is a highly unusual move for Red Deer’s Chamber, which rarely support any impediment to free trade.
But somebody got to do something to force the federal government’s hand, said policy and advocacy manager Reg Warkentin.
“This shows how much the pipeline means to Alberta.”
Since trade wars between provinces are unconstitutional, Warkentin believes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is caught in the cross-hairs of the war between the two premiers.
Warkentin hopes Trudeau will now “take action” and strengthening federal backing for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain oil pipeline. Advocates feel its twinning would be an economic boon for Alberta and the country, by transporting more oil to the West Coast for shipping abroad.
British Columbia insists on studying the effect of bitumen getting into the Pacific Ocean. But Warkentin said the National Energy Board has already studied all aspects of the twinning project and has given it the go-ahead.
Although Alberta’s “symbolic” wine ban won’t hurt the B.C. winery by much, Warkentin believes “it sends a strong political message: Alberta is not happy.”
Hopefully, Trudeau will “provide the leadership that’s needed to sell the benefits of the pipeline” to B.C. residents and other Canadians, said Warkentin, who noted job creation is at stake — not only in Alberta, but in northern and interior B.C.
“There’s definitely a role to be played in educating people to just how much safer pipelines are,” compared to overland transportation, he added.