Wine CEO Response to Boycott
A Fort McMurray Italian restaurant named Asti Trattoria Italiana will no longer carry B.C. wines in response to the province's proposal to restrict bitumen shipments from Alberta.
On Tuesday, B.C. announced it would restrict any increase in diluted bitumen shipments from Alberta until more studies are done surrounding oil spill responses. That puts the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in jeopardy.
Miles Prodan, President and CEO of the BC Wine Institute says it's unfortunate that the wine industry has to get caught up in government policy. "It's not just Alberta." "We've got the Americans after the BC wine industry at NAFTA negotiations, we've got Australians after BC wine at the WTO challenges and I'm not sure why they keep picking on little old BC wine."
Prodan says BC vineyards total less than 10,000 acres in size, comparable to a single vineyard for some international wineries. "I think that there's this perception, quite frankly, that good wine equates to some multi-billion dollar industry and it's not." "It's small family-owned farms, people growing grapes and making wine and it's not big multi-national corporations that are cashing in on this."
Rachel Notley, the Premier of Alberta, has made a sizeable threat of her own. "I am sending a letter to the Premier of BC to advise him that we have formally suspended all talks to do with the purchasing of electricity from BC through existing inter-ties." "These are purchases, that had these discussions been completed, would have contribiuted up to 500 million dollars per year to British Columbia."