Stop the rhetoric and work together.
That’s the message from the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce to the Premiers of Alberta and BC, with a call-out to the federal government to step up.
Speaking on behalf of the Chamber, President Tom Dyas urged the premiers to “stop the rhetoric on inter-provincial trade and instead find ways to enhance our economies rather than ramping up a trade dispute.”
At issue is a federally approved expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline, which would bring shipments of diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to the west coast and international shipping routes. After
BC Premier John Horgan announced a restriction on bitumen shipments, pending an environmental review, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley retaliated with a ban on BC wines.
Dyas said boycotts between businesses in two provinces will not resolve an issue that is ultimately a federal government responsibility. This is why the Kelowna Chamber joined the Canadian Chamber in calling on the Prime Minister and the Canadian Government to step in and stand up for the regulatory process at the heart of the dispute. Approval of the pipeline expansion was a federal government decision.
Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project went through a rigorous Federal Review before it was approved, Dyas says. “While dismissing the result of that process as if it didn’t happen may be good politics, it actually threatens to create global uncertainty about the faith investors can have in Canada’s regulatory processes.”
Dyas said the dispute is now harming small businesses and impacting thousands of families that rely on inter-provincial trade in order to make ends meet. As a wine-producing region, many small businesses in the Kelowna area are at risk of becoming collateral damage in the political fight between the two Premiers.
Dyas called for leadership focused on solving problems, “rather than seeking media sound bites to appease political supporters.
“Nobody wins when there is a boycott and the political uncertainty it creates will threaten much needed investment in both provinces. The ban on BC wine imports needs to stop now and both provincial leaders need to cool off before things escalate to include other products or sectors,” Dyas added.
“We have enough to be concerned with in our ongoing trade issues with the US” says Dyas. “We don’t need to be fighting among ourselves as Canadians.
Leadership from the Prime Minister at this time would go a long way in cooling this dispute, Dyas concluded.