It’s understandable that a city council would want to be cautious when addressing a senior government. After all, provincial and federal governments are the source of a lot of funding for special projects.
But there are times, too, when it’s OK to be forthright, like when commenting on the ongoing provincial trade dispute between Alberta and B.C. over the Kinder Morgan pipeline and Premier Rachel Notley’s ban on importing B.C. wines.
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit cautioned that a potential City of Penticton letter, joining other municipalities protesting the wine boycott, shouldn’t take sides, limiting Penticton’s position to raising awareness about the damage being done by the boycott.
That’s certainly an important factor — the most important, in fact — but that doesn’t mean the letter can’t also include a bold statement like the one Coun. Tarik Sayeed picked out of the Town of Oliver’s letter: “We don’t want an interprovincial trade war.”
The problem may lie in the concept of “sides.” This isn’t an either/or issue — support the pipeline and ban the wine or oppose the pipeline and hate the wine ban. We agree, neither of those positions are ones any municipality should take.
But making a strong statement that Penticton opposes this trade war, along with the current and potential effects it could have on our wine and tourism industries, is where we should be at.
This isn’t a time for cautious statements, carefully worded not to offend anyone. This is a time to make it clear that we oppose even the idea of a provincial trade war, which won’t accomplish anything other than harm the interests of Canadians on both sides of the Rockies.