Supreme Court dis­misses Burn­aby case against Trans Moun­tain pipe­line

Court rul­ing al­lows build­ing of pipe­line

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - DAN HEAL­ING

A Supreme Court of Canada de­ci­sion to dis­miss an ap­peal op­pos­ing the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line drew praise from Ot­tawa, the Al­berta gov­ern­ment and an Indige­nous leader Thurs­day. Cheam First Na­tion Chief Ernie Crey said the de­ci­sion clears hurdles to a project that pro­po­nents say will re­sult in a va­ri­ety of eco­nomic ben­e­fits and op­por­tu­ni­ties for all Cana­di­ans. Al­berta premier Rachel Not­ley added that her gov­ern­ment is “bat­ting a thou­sand” when it comes to stand­ing up for the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line ex­pan­sion. Mean­while, en­vi­ron­men­tal groups and the city of Burn­aby — which launched the court chal­lenge — ex­pressed dis­may at the rul­ing. While this was a sig­nif­i­cant court vic­tory for the pipe­line ex­pan­sion, a fur­ther le­gal chal­lenge from some First Na­tions still ex­ists. Many Indige­nous groups op­pose the ex­pan­sion, but 43 First Na­tions have signed ben­e­fit agree­ments in con­nec­tion with the plan.

The Al­berta gov­ern­ment is “bat­ting a thou­sand” when it comes to fight­ing for the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line ex­pan­sion, Premier Rachel Not­ley said Thurs­day, af­ter the Supreme Court of Canada dis­missed an ap­peal by the City of Burn­aby on con­struc­tion of the con­tro­ver­sial line.

“When the B.C. gov­ern­ment tried to overstep its le­gal and con­sti­tu­tional au­thor­ity, we took bold ac­tion — and they backed down,” she said in a so­cial me­dia post.

“When the City of Burn­aby tried to block the Trans Moun­tain Pipe­line in court, we in­ter­vened — and we won in court and we won again to­day.”

Not­ley said the courts have made 17 straight rul­ings in favour of Trans Moun­tain.

The leader of an Indige­nous group that hopes to some day own a stake in the pipe­line is also en­cour­aged by the de­ci­sion.

“I have the feel­ing, at the end of the day, it’s go­ing to clear all the hurdles that re­main of a le­gal na­ture and so I’m happy at this rul­ing,” said Cheam First Na­tion Chief Ernie Crey.

When the fed­eral gov­ern­ment agreed in May to buy the pipe­line that spans from Al­berta to the B.C. coast and re­lated in­fra­struc­ture for $4.5 bil­lion from Kin­der Mor­gan Canada Ltd., it sig­nalled that it didn’t in­tend to own it for the long term and would sell it as soon as pos­si­ble.

Al­though many B.C. First Na­tions op­pose the pipe­line — and sev­eral are par­ties to a Fed­eral Court of Ap­peal chal­lenge of Ot­tawa’s project ap­proval in 2016 — 43 First Na­tions have signed ben­e­fit agree­ments, Crey pointed out.

“There is grow­ing in­ter­est on the part of Indige­nous people to take out a stake in the pipe­line,” he said.

“They (may) have the op­tion of buy­ing shares, of course, but my im­pres­sion from the lead­er­ship I’ve talked to in Al­berta, Saskatchewan and B.C., is they want a sub­stan­tial in­ter­est in the pipe­line.”

The City of Burn­aby and en­vi­ron­men­tal groups vowed to con­tinue to fight the pipe­line de­spite the set­back.

A spokesman for Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter Amar­jeet Sohi said the gov­ern­ment stands by its de­ci­sion to buy the pipe­line, not­ing it is needed be­cause it will pro­vide ac­cess to new mar­kets for Cana­dian crude and cre­ate new jobs.

Al­berta has pledged to spend up to $2 bil­lion, if needed, to keep the project go­ing.

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