You would think Alberta’s Premier Rachel Notley would know better.
The ban on B.C. wine — and encouragement for Alberta businesses and individuals to boycott — might earn Notley political points in her own province, but it’s unlikely to turn the B.C. government into ardent supporters of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
Boycotts against commercial interests are sometimes effective, but rarely so when used in an attempt to force political change. And when it’s one government using boycotts (or sanctions) against another, the result usually leaves something to be desired. Just look at how effective sanctions against North Korea have been.
The people that end up getting hurt in these cases aren’t those with decision-making power, but those at the grassroots level with little influence except around election time.
Which makes Notley’s attempt to use wine sales as a bargaining chip about as meaningful as a playground taunt of, ‘If you’re not going to play by my rules, I am going to take my ball and go home.’
Notley’s boycott may be many things, including an attempt to get the feds more involved, but like that child, it’s also lashing out. And it’s at the wrong people. Alberta and B.C. may be separate provinces, but we all share the same flag and country. The only sure result of an inter-provincial boycott is harm to other Canadians — not something any province should be engaging in.
The issue of Kinder Morgan is a complicated one. Canada is a country of many peoples and many nations, but we are one country. The only way to come to a solution on Kinder Morgan is through negotiation that respects and includes all perspectives: individuals, First Nations, local, provincial and federal governments.
In a way, the boycott threat is a compliment to our wine industry; suggesting wine is as valuable to our economy as oil is to Alberta’s, putting it right up there with electricity and lumber.