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Mission Chamber calls wine dispute bad for Canada

Group asks province to consider the affects their conflict with Alberta has on business

The Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce is calling for the province to consider the affects their on-going conflict with Alberta will have on the B.C. business community and future trade across Canada and abroad.

The conflict between the two provinces and their premiers revolves around Kinder Morgan’s Transmountain Pipeline expansion, which would run far larger amounts of crude oil and bitumen from Alberta to B.C.’s coast than is done right now.

B.C. Premier John Horgan recently declared he is opposed to increasing the amount of diluted bitumen that is shipped between the provinces and off the Pacific coast.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley fired back, announcing that the prairie province would stop all talks of buying electricity from B.C., later adding that the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) would boycott all wines from B.C.

Notley says the power embargo would cost B.C. upwards of $500 million per year, while CBC estimates the drop in wine exports would result in a $70 million loss to B.C’s economy.

Mission Chamber president David Sawatzky says the ongoing “trade war” is not only bad for both provinces, but Canada as a whole.

“We have already received approval from the federal government for a federally-regulated project. Having two neighbouring provinces, who are of the same political stripes, fighting each other in such a way is sending a message to the rest of the world that if we can’t work well amongst ourselves, how will our provinces work with other trade partners across Canada and abroad.”

Sawatzky added that Canada is a trading nation, and without being able to move goods back and forth between B.C. and Alberta, the two provinces really only have the United States to look to for trading partners.

While Sawatzky does not believe the trade embargoes will last for long, he says more than enough damage will have been done by the time the conflicts are resolved.