Notley wraps herself in flag for BC trade war, recruits Canadian supporters with new online tools

Horgan plays same political game as Notley, declares April as BC Wine Month, garners political support of BC wine makers

Earlier this week Alberta rolled out new online “tools” to recruit Canadians – not just Albertans – into the “wine war” against British Columbia. “We need all of us working together to make sure the B.C. government fully understands why this pipeline matters, why good jobs matter and why the rules of our country matter,” said Premier Rachel Notley.

The tools in question include a petition “asking the government of Premier John Horgan to honour the rules of Confederation,” a link to MP and MLA email addresses so supporters can express their indignation directly, and a special email that BC citizens can use to share their support of the Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline project.

An advertising campaign in Alberta and British Columbia is in the works to “make people aware of the website and invite them to share their views.”

Notley has even taken to tweeting some of the views from British Columbians:

Perhaps the most interesting part of the website is the decision to cast her as the great patriotic defender of Confederation:

Canada, we face a serious situation. The Government of British Columbia is trying to break the rules of confederation and overturn a federal decision on the shipping of oil to Canada’s west coast. There’s not a road, school or hospital in Alberta, B.C. or anywhere else in this country that doesn’t owe something to our energy sector – which employs thousands of Canadians from coast-to-coast. But as Canadians we know that economic development must always be paired with environmental protections…This isn’t about governments and politicians. This is about you. It’s about not just Albertans, but regular, hardworking people just like you, all across Canada.

At a recent media conference, Notley was asked how far she is prepared to go in her battle with BC Premier John Horgan. She said Alberta won’t commit to a particular strategy just now, but she will be meeting with task force members to map out “additional strategic selections.”

“We’re going to keep a close eye on the state of play between the federal government and officials in BC, and we’re going to give them a little bit of space to have some conversations,” she said. “There are a number of other options we could consider, but we’ll roll them out at the appropriate time.

Horgan’s response?

Source: BC Wine Institute.

Wednesday he declared April to be BC Wine Month.

“B.C.’s wine industry is made up of family-run vineyards and wineries that have chosen farming and wine-making as their passion and their profession,” Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham said in a press release, which pointed out that the top markets for BC wine were China (54%), Taiwan (23%) and the United States (11%), suggesting there are other markets than Alberta that will be happy to absorb the $70 million now banned east of the Rockies.

“We told British Columbians we would fight for our wine-making community, and devoting an entire month to B.C. wines is a wonderful way to do just that.”

The wine-making community says it appreciates the support.

“We appreciate the Province’s quick response in support of BC’s wineries, and we remain resolute in our mission to secure sales opportunities here in BC for the many BC grape wineries across the province, most of which are small, family-owned-and-operated businesses, and will continue to promote our local world-class products at home and abroad,” said Miles Prodan, president and CEO of the BC Wine Institute.

Congratulations, Alberta, you’ve driven a segment of the BC business community, not usually a fan of NDP governments, into Horgan’s waiting arms.

The BC NDP government’s response shows that Notley isn’t the only Canadian politician who can wrap themselves in the flag.

Expect this behaviour to continue into the fall, with Notley announcing new measures intended to punish BC and Horgan gleefully turning each one into an opportunity to rally British Columbians against Trans Mountain Expansion.

And when push comes to shove in Sept. – Kinder Morgan says it will re-evaluate progress on permit approvals from the BC government and the City of Burnaby then – and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is forced to more aggressively assert federal authority, Horgan will likely have the political support he needs to stare down the Canadian government.

When thousands – maybe tens of thousands – of angry British Columbians take to the streets of Vancouver and Burnaby to protest the pipeline, Notley will look back on the “wine war” and realize that all she accomplished was to shore up Horgan.

Sadly, there is no going back now. BC, Alberta, and Canada are set on a collision course that in six to nine months will culminate in civil disobedience that will make the War in the Woods look like a picnic.

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