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Jon McComb: B.C. and Alberta’s war isn’t about oil or the environment, it’s about getting reelected

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, left, and B.C. Premier John Horgan, right. The Canadian Press

There’s nothing like politics to completely muddy the waters, and that’s what’s happening with the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

It’s officially a trade war that Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has started with B.C. It’s one thing to say we’re not going to buy electricity from you, which is a provincial matter, but this is now targeting the wine industry in B.C.

LISTEN: The bitumen battle is all smoke and muddy waters
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Notley came out and said that the Alberta liquor control apparatus is going to stop buying and importing B.C. wine into Alberta – which I actually think is Alberta’s loss more than I think is ours. But it is a loss to our industry — $70 million wholesale is what Alberta buys every year, and closer to $160 million retail, according to the BC Wine Institute.

READ MORE: Alberta to stop importing B.C. wines into the province: Notley

Alberta is the largest market outside of B.C. so it’s a fair chunk of money, especially if you’re running a small winery operation and have a small vineyard; if a lot of your product is going to Alberta – that’s serious business.

Notley wants to escalate this. She’s going to keep going and keep targeting B.C. businesses.

WATCH: Alberta puts a cork in B.C. wine shipments

Click to play video: 'Alberta puts a cork in BC wine shipments' Alberta puts a cork in BC wine shipments
Alberta puts a cork in BC wine shipments – Feb 6, 2018

Make no mistake about it, don’t be misled, this isn’t about oil or keeping our beaches clean. This is about politics and getting reelected. That’s what politicians do, that’s their number one priority.

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Notley has just over a year to call a new election for Alberta, so she is setting the stage with her actions for what’s going to be the political fight of her life – running against Jason Kenney.

READ MORE: B.C. premier vows province will respond to ‘unfair’ wine boycott

Kenney, from the United Conservative Party in Alberta, is currently leading the polls. Notley knows she’s going to be in for a bruising battle by the time the election is called.

As for B.C. Premier John Horgan, he needs to keep the B.C. Greens happy. He’s already annoyed a lot of people with the Site C dam approval. A lot of people in his party and outside the party voted Green and support his NDP — for now.

WATCH: Alberta-B.C. trade war heats up with wine ban reaction

Click to play video: 'Alberta-B.C. trade war heats up with wine ban reaction' Alberta-B.C. trade war heats up with wine ban reaction
Alberta-B.C. trade war heats up with wine ban reaction – Feb 7, 2018

He’s facing huge political considerations. This statement from Tuesday was pretty telling: “We haven’t even done anything – we’re just consulting with British Columbians.”

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And if Alberta disagrees – they can make that argument in the proper venue, our court system.

Believe me, there’s nothing Horgan and the NDP want more than to get this issue into the courts. Once there, they have the ability to delay, appeal, and to put this thing on ice.

READ MORE: Albertans are B.C.’s 3rd biggest tourism spenders. Could trade war put that at risk?

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