A Fort brewer wishes the premier just kept craft beer out of a political trade war with British Columbia.
Like many Albertans, Kevin Moore, the co-founder and head brewer of Two Sergeants Brewing, has been following the inter-provincial battle over the expansion to the Trans Mountain pipeline, which could face serious delays as the B.C. government announced a proposal to restrict increase in bitumen shipments from Alberta until more spill responses studies are done. In retaliation, Premier Rachel Notley issued a boycott of B.C. wine at provincially-run liquor stores.
B.C. Premier John Horgan has stated he won’t be issuing his own boycotts.
During Notley’s boycott announcement, she urged Albertans to put down their B.C. wine glasses and instead pick up a locally brewed craft beer.
It was here that Moore said he wished Notley just left the Alberta beer industry out of the whole affair.
“The NDP government has been fantastic for our industry but bringing us into this fray, I kind of wish she hadn’t,” he said. “It is difficult enough for us to get into other provinces as it is. The interprovincial trade barriers on alcohol is ridiculous. That’s already being fought at the Supreme Court level. I see this has political gamesmanship. I’m not speaking for our industry, by any stretch of the imagination. This is my personal opinion as No. 1, the owner of a small business that manufactures alcohol and No. 2, as a taxpayer and citizen of Alberta. I wasn’t pleased with her statement whatsoever.”
He pointed out Alberta has already gone through one trade war with a neighbouring province over banning Wildrose license plates from taking new government roadway contracts, which has seen been rolled back. Moore said he understood what Notley is trying to do as she fights to get the pipeline expansion through but involving wineries just isn’t a good move.
“I don’t imagine, and this is just my own speculation, this ban is going to last for any significant portion,” he said. “It’s politics going on.”
Moore didn’t believe the boycott will have any impact on craft beer sales as neither really compete with each other. He said it would be like comparing apples to oranges.
Since the boycott announcement, Notley has created a task force in response to B.C. The committee includes former New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna and former Syncrude Canada president Jim Carter.
The task force plans to work closely with business, labour and community leaders while providing the premier and cabinet with advice.
NDP MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville Jessica Littlewood said people should be concerned that B.C. isn’t working with the rest of Canada for the greater good.
“It can have a chilling effect on investment and businesses who want to do business with us when there B.C. tries to change the rules of the game in the middle of what has been a significant economic struggle for Alberta, for Canada over the last two years,” Littlewood said. “B.C. had been fighting for better coastal protection for the last 20 years. Part of what the government asked for two years ago was for investments in coastal protection as part of getting to a yes on the expansion of Kinder Morgan. They are seeing $1.5 billion being invested in their coastal line and now they are changing their mind to keeping their end of the agreement to allow expansion of Alberta’s natural resources to the coast so we can get a fair price for (our) resources.”
The Fort MLA argued B.C. wants all the benefits but doesn’t want to be a partner that would improve the economy.