Judge de­nies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

The Prince George Citizen - - News -

CAL­GARY — A Cal­gary judge has de­nied British Co­lum­bia’s at­tempt to block Al­berta leg­is­la­tion that would al­low that prov­ince to stop oil ship­ments to the coast.

In a de­ci­sion re­leased Fri­day on the so-called Turn Off the Taps bill, Queen’s Bench Jus­tice Robert Hall said that B.C. doesn’t have the right to take Al­berta to court in Al­berta over leg­is­la­tion passed by the Al­berta leg­is­la­ture.

“The only par­ties with stand­ing to bring this ac­tion in this court are the (At­tor­ney Gen­eral of Al­berta) and the (At­tor­ney Gen­eral of Canada),” Hall wrote in his de­ci­sion.

Hall said nei­ther prov­ince could find a sin­gle pre­vi­ous ex­am­ple of such a case go­ing ahead.

“Nei­ther party could di­rect me to any cases in which one prov­ince has sued an­other prov­ince seek­ing a dec­la­ra­tion of con­sti­tu­tional in­va­lid­ity of leg­is­la­tion en­acted by the de­fen­dant prov­ince.”

Hall said the proper venue for the dis­agree­ment is Fed­eral Court, which was specif­i­cally cre­ated to ad­ju­di­cate be­tween gov­ern­ments.

“Fed­eral court is the proper fo­rum for this in­ter­provin­cial dis­pute.”

B.C. At­tor­ney Gen­eral David Eby said the prov­ince is re­view­ing Hall’s de­ci­sion. He said B.C. has al­ready filed a sim­i­lar case in Fed­eral Court, al­though that body hasn’t said yet whether it will ac­cept it.

“The Prov­ince has been clear that we will de­fend the in­ter­ests of British Columbians,” Eby said in an email.

“We... look for­ward to the day that this leg­is­la­tion, which is un­con­sti­tu­tional and de­signed to pun­ish peo­ple in B.C., is heard in court.”

The le­gal bat­tle is part of the fall­out over the Trans­Moun­tain pipeline ex­pan­sion.

In re­sponse to B.C.’s le­gal mea­sures against the pipeline, Al­berta passed leg­is­la­tion that would al­low it to shut off oil ship­ments to the coast.

B.C. had asked the Al­berta court to both de­clare the law un­con­sti­tu­tional and grant an in­junc­tion pre­vent­ing its im­ple­men­ta­tion.

The Trans­Moun­tain ex­pan­sion, first ap­proved in 2016, would triple the amount of oil flow­ing from the oil­sands to B.C.’s Lower Main­land and from there to lu­cra­tive new mar­kets across the Pa­cific.

The fed­eral govern­ment bought the ex­ist­ing pipeline last year for $4.5 bil­lion af­ter its orig­i­nal builder, Texas-based Kinder Mor­gan, threat­ened to walk away from the project be­cause of B.C.’s re­sis­tance.

The Fed­eral Court of Ap­peal quashed the ap­proval months later on the grounds that there hadn’t been enough con­sul­ta­tion with First Na­tions or con­sid­er­a­tion of the pipeline’s po­ten­tial im­pact on ma­rine wildlife.

The project has been ap­proved for a sec­ond time by the fed­eral cabi­net.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.