'I can't believe we're being targeted' Kamloops wineries weigh in on Alberta ban

By Greg Fry
February 7, 2018 - 3:06pm Updated: February 8, 2018 - 5:32pm

KAMLOOPS — The wine war between B.C. and Alberta is starting to hit Kamloops-area wine producers where it hurts most — in the pocketbook.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said the B.C. wine ban will remain in place as long as Victoria maintains its ban on increased bitumen shipments from Alberta to the West Coast.

Monte Creek Ranch Winery just outside of Kamloops has been shipping wine to Alberta for two years and confirmed to CFJC Today the ban went into effect for them Wednesday morning.

Though marketing coordinator Ashley Demedeiros declined to say exactly how much the ban is going to cost Monte Creek Ranch, she says the Alberta imposed ban caught the company off guard.

"It's pretty shocking because the majority of wineries in B.C. are small businesses. We just can't believe we're being attacked when we're in a completely different sector."

Jake Ootes, owner of Celista Estate Winery in the North Shuswap, pins the blame for the trade dispute on the B.C. government.

"I'm upset with the B.C. government because this has been just dramatic political posturing on the whole pipeline issue. It was approved by the federal government. I believe the previous provincial government was in support of it and now there's an issue over it," he says.

"I don't blame Alberta for taking retaliatory measures. Alberta, of course, is going to hit us where it hurts and that's in the pocketbook. But then isn't that what the B.C. government is doing to the Alberta people?"

Ootes is a former Northwest Territories MLA and education minister.

He adds he's concerned the dispute will only escalate from here.

"What about down the road in a couple of years. Is it going to be cars that are going to be shipped from Ontario and nobody allows the cars in?"

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Conservative MP Cathy McLeod says she's very concerned about the dispute noting the financial harm it will cause to small business owners.

She adds Justin Trudeau needs to step in and assert his authority.

"He needs to be very clear in terms of who has the jurisdiction and it is under the Constitution of Canada. It is a federal jurisdiction and the federal government has approved this pipeline and I think he needs to make that very clear."

Weather continues to be a problem for travellers