As It Happens

'Pitter patter, let's get at 'er!': Alberta man boycotts all B.C. products over pipeline dispute

Alberta's Lew Galbraith has taken his province's boycott of British Columbia wines to the next level. He's refusing to buy anything from B.C. and is encouraging others to do the same.
Albertan Lew Galbraith says he is refusing to buy anything from B.C. to protest B.C.'s decision to further review the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. (Cameron Spencer, Remy Gabalda, Paul J. Richards, Tobias Schwarz/Getty Images)

Story transcript

It started with wine.

On Tuesday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced the province would no longer import wine from British Columbia, after B.C decided to put the breaks on the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion.

But some Albertans say the boycott of products from B.C. needs to go a lot further than wine. Enter Lew Galbraith, a retiree from Strathcona County.

Galbraith spoke to As It Happens host Carol Off about why he has launched his own boycott. Here is part of their conversation.

Lew, can you give us a rundown of all the B.C. products you've stopped buying?

I've already said that I've quit buying B.C. wines. A nice Riesling from the Osoyoos area that I really liked, I've replaced with one from Australia that we also really like. And there was a red from the Kelowna district that we liked that now I've replaced with a zinfandel from California, which I drank years ago and I liked, and went back to them.

B.C. fish? Well, we've always bought sockeye, especially as fresh as we could get it and some other fish from the B.C. coast. And then I always buy a local made...yogurt for my breakfast. But it wasn't available in the store the other day, so I was looking through other ones and I ended up buying one from Ontario, where I'd normally, before, have bought this, I think it was called "Astro" from the Abbotsford area. But I won't buy that anymore. 
Galbraith says his politics inform every purchase -- even at the yogurt aisle. He used to buy a British Columbia made yogurt but now buys Astro brand. (Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)

What about tomatoes?

I love tomatoes. Eat them everyday. I was buying vine tomatoes from the greenhouse, again, in the Abbotsford area but I don't do that anymore either.

Cowboy hats are fairly dumb. But if they want to get "tit for tat" it works both ways. Pitter patter, let's get at 'er!- Lew Galbr

So how has that changed your lifestyle? Are you missing all those B.C. products?

No. I'd rather support, number one: Alberta businesses, number two: Prairie province business, number three: Western Canada business. But I've cut B.C. out of that Western Canada portion now.

You say that you started doing this months ago, way before Rachel Notley and the Alberta government announced their boycott. So what's pushed you over the edge? Why did you get involved in boycotting so early?

The writing was on the wall. When Horgan and his New Deaf Party got elected and held in there with what we seem to call around here the Green Beaver Weaver I could see it coming. They swore they were going to fight, do what they could to stop the pipeline. Then, when that Burnaby mayor that was at the rat mouse sessions and that Beaver Weaver wasn't going to support him unless they did it. So his, I guess his nut, was on the line. Wasn't it? 

So now, Green Beaver Weaver, did you make that one up?

I don't know. I know he gets called that now.

And, of course, you're referring to Green Party leader Andrew Weaver?

Yeah, yup. I suppose I made it up. I know I've used it enough that I hear it coming back to me now anyway, so. 

These are things you are changing quite a bit in your life. Why does it matter to you personally so much to do this?

This is hurting us in the pocketbook. If B.C. electorate, the B.C. business and electorate out there, that put the New Deaf Party in power, think it's all well and good for them to live in their bubble and cut a hole in my pocketbook or my family's pocketbook, why shouldn't I do it back?

Do you think the boycotts will have an effect on the decisions in British Columbia?

It's growing. I know that — and it's an easy sell. All you got to do is start bringing it up to people and pointing it up and pretty soon you've got the nodding head and, "Yes, you've got a good point." 

People in British Columbia are asking — why punish them? Why punish the wine producers or tomato growers? Why punish them for something that they may not support or even encourage in their own government?

Are they not hurting us? And when they try to stop our product to get to market, why should they have the right to stop our product to get to market? Have they voted that government into power? I mean, if I can't get at that government, an NDP government, the B.C. NDP government, aren't you going to listen to me? Or other little guys like me anyway. So we better get the little guys under them listening and feed that power backup. 

What will you do if people in British Columbia decide, well, we're not going to buy anymore beef. Or do what one newspaper columnist suggested and, "have a ban on dumb cowboy hats." What do you say to those possibilities?

Well… cowboy hats are fairly dumb. But if they want to get "tit for tat" it works both ways. Pitter patter, let's get at 'er!

This interview transcript has been edited for length and clarity. For more on this story, listen to our full interview with Lew Galbraith.

We asked for a photo of Lew Galbraith but he refused to send us one and told our producer, "Why don't you just put up a picture of a horse's ass." Here you go, Lew:


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.