Alberta United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney said Friday he would have kept the ban on importing B.C. wine in place and even taken further retaliatory action against the neighbouring province.
Speaking on the ongoing trade dispute between the two provinces, Kenney said he believes Premier Rachel Notley “blinked” when she decided to revoke the ban on Thursday.
“The Alberta NDP blinked,” he said. “In the face of more delay tactics by their fellow New Democrats in British Columbia, jeopardizing our economic future.”
“Premier Notley and her NDP government folded in deciding to stop any retaliatory measures against the New Democrat opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline.”
Notley announced Thursday the ban on B.C. wine would be lifted just an hour after B.C. Premier John Horgan announced its government would seek legal counsel on whether it has the right to restrict bitumen shipments.
WATCH: Global News ongoing coverage of the Alberta-B.C. wine dispute.
Kenney said the pipeline is essential to Alberta’s future, and called the B.C. government’s delay tactics against a federally approved project “unacceptable.”
“I would not have lifted the wine boycott, I would have moved to other measures that we’ve been advocating for months.”
Kenney added that he would have “picked up the phone and phoned Justin Trudeau in India” to insist he intervene and “quash the delay.”
He said actions like the B.C. government’s move to restrict bitumen creates more uncertainty, as opponents know that delays are what can kill a pipeline, citing Energy East as an example.
Kenney pointed to last week’s announcement that B.C. is challenging the National Energy Board’s approval for construction to begin at the entrance of the Burnaby Mountain tunnel as another factor that could result in the eventual termination of the pipeline.
“None of this needs to go to court,” he said. “The federal government just needs to exercise its constitutional authority — that’s the simple solution.”