News / Vancouver

B.C. wine industry launches lawsuit against Alberta ban

Alberta outlawed B.C. wine imports three weeks ago after B.C. restricted bitumen pipeline exports until further study.

The B.C. Wine Institute is challenging Alberta’s wine ban in court, arguing the trade action is unconstitutional and is “severely harming” British Columbia wine producers.

Alberta announced the ban of B.C. wine imports on Feb. 6, in response to the B.C. government’s decision to halt any expansion of bitumen export through pipelines until more is known about how to clean up a bitumen oil spill.

The move effectively blocked Kinder Morgan’s planned expansion of its existing Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta through British Columbia, terminating in Burnaby, although construction continues.

The 1,100-kilometre pipeline expansion, which has received federal approval, will increase by seven-fold the number of tankers carrying diluted bitumen through B.C.’s coastal waters.

“We believe it is unconstitutional to prohibit the import of Canadian goods into another province based solely on where they come from,” said Miles Prodan, president and CEO of the B.C. Wine Institute, in a press release. “All Canadians should be concerned, because if wine can be prohibited based on its province of origin, so can any product from any other province.

"We hope that the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission will take this opportunity to end the unfair targeting of the BC wine industry.”

B.C. has separately launched its own challenge of the Alberta move, alleging it violates interprovincial trade rules.

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