VICTORIA – The B.C. government is challenging Alberta’s ban on B.C. wines through the Canadian Free Trade Agreement’s (CFTA) dispute settlement process.
According to a release, the province has notified the Alberta government that it is formally requesting consultations under the CFTA regarding Alberta’s embargo on the sale of B.C. wine, reported CBC News.
“Alberta’s actions threaten the livelihood of the families that have worked so hard to build B.C.’s world-class wine industry,” Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston said in the release.
“These actions are inconsistent with Alberta’s obligations under the CFTA, and we will protect our reputation and the interests of British Columbians.”
At a press conference on Monday afternoon, Ralston said that Alberta’s ban is a “clear violation” of the CFTA.
“It’s our view that this dispute engages questions that should be considered by every jurisdiction in the federation,” he said. “We’re standing up for the B.C. wine business, B.C. industry, B.C. businesses and B.C. jobs.”
Ralston said the process allows for 120 days of consultation. If no decision is made, the matter then goes to a tribunal.
“I think that what’s good about this process is it’s a process of dialogue, it’s a process of engagement in discussion and consultation. So I’m optimistic that there will be fruitful discussion and there may be a resolution,” he said.