B.C. Attorney General David Eby said his province will ask the Court of Queen’s Bench in Alberta to declare the legislation unconstitutional on the grounds that one province cannot punish another. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. heading to court in Alberta to stop fuel restriction law, may seek damages

VICTORIA — Tensions over the Trans Mountain pipeline increased Thursday with British Columbia announcing plans to launch a lawsuit over new Alberta legislation that could restrict fuel exports to the West Coast.

B.C. Attorney General David Eby said his province will ask the Court of Queen’s Bench in Alberta to declare the legislation unconstitutional on the grounds that one province cannot punish another.

The bill, which allows limits on fuel exports to B.C., was passed by Alberta’s legislature on Wednesday.

If Alberta moves to implement the act, B.C. will apply for an injunction and seek damages, Eby said.

“Unfortunately, proceedings like this can take years if it goes all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada, which is why we wanted to start at the Supreme Court of Canada if we could,” he said.

“But we’re starting at the court to get this remedy we’re seeking, which is to have this law struck as unconstitutional.”

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley declined to say when or how the legislation would be implemented, but she said she believes the law will withstand a legal challenge.

“We feel pretty confident that we have authority to control the export of our own resources under the Constitution as a means of maximizing the return to the people of Alberta,” she said.

“So we’re going to go ahead with it on that basis.”

Notley told business leaders at a speech in Edmonton that her government doesn’t want to impose hardship on B.C. businesses and families, but Alberta must also safeguard its interests.

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