B.C. files constitutional challenge of Alberta’s fuel restriction law

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government filed a constitutional lawsuit Tuesday countering an Alberta government bill that would limit fuel being sent to the province.

It comes weeks after the B.C. government asked its highest court to decide if it has the right to limit the flow of bitumen in the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley saw some irony in B.C.’s position.

“It’s very interesting, on one hand they don’t want our oil and on the other hand they’re suing us to give them our oil,” she told a news conference in Edmonton on Tuesday.

The latest legal action further strains an acrimonious relationship between the two provinces over the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Attorney General David Eby said B.C. is prepared to ask for an injunction and financial damages against Alberta if it restricts the flow of fuel.

Notley said the lawsuit is just one of several tactics to create uncertainty over the Kinder Morgan pipeline project.

“They must think everybody was born yesterday,” Notley said. “They are still reserving the right to play legal rope-a-dope until the cows come home. That is not a thing we are going to let happen.”

Plans to triple the capacity of Kinder Morgan’s existing Trans Mountain pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby have pitted Alberta and the federal government against B.C., which says the risk of a bitumen spill is too great for the province’s environment and economy.

Eby said the Alberta and the federal government are causing delays by refusing to accept B.C.’s invitations to join legal cases, or take legal arguments straight to the Supreme Court of Canada where the outcomes are final.

The B.C. government has filed a reference case in the provincial Court of Appeal to determine if it has jurisdiction to regulate heavy oil shipments. It also joined two other lawsuits launched by Indigenous groups opposed to the $7.4-billion pipeline project.

Eby said the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench challenges the constitutionality of Alberta’s law because it is intended to punish B.C.

“We believe it would be reckless in the extreme and therefore highly unlikely that Alberta will actually attempt to use the powers they granted themselves in Bill 12,” he told a conference call. “If Alberta did take the remarkable step of attempting to use this law, we are prepared to immediately file and injunction. We will not hesitate.”

Notley bowed out of a Western premier’s meeting on Wednesday in Yellowknife, saying she could not discuss issues like a national prescription drug plan in the presence of B.C. Premier John Horgan while his government is trying to stop the pipeline project.

“Pharmacare does not grow on trees,” Notley said. “In order to protect and improve the things that matter to people, like pharmacare, we need a strong, functioning national economy.”

Before he left for the meeting, Horgan said he didn’t expect tensions over the pipeline to dominate discussions among the premiers.

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the project until it receives assurances it can proceed without delays, setting a May 31 deadline for those guarantees.

Notley said Alberta and the federal government are both working on plans to ensure the project proceeds. Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau has offered an indemnity to backstop the pipeline project.

B.C.’s nine-page statement of claim alleges the intent of Alberta’s bill is to hurt to the province.

“A significant disruption in the supply of gasoline, diesel, and crude oil from Alberta to British Columbia would cause British Columbia irreparable harm,” the document asserts. “In addition to economic harm, a sudden disruption in supply could injure human health and safety in remote communities.”

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Thousands to attend funeral service for officers killed in Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Hundreds of people have lined the route of a funeral… Continue reading

Calgary police officer seriously injured

CALGARY — The Calgary Police Service says one of its officers was… Continue reading

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

MONTREAL — Canadian politicians are adding their voices to the international reaction… Continue reading

‘Four of a dozen kids will not make it:’ Tina Fontaine’s family healing together

WINNIPEG — Melissa Stevenson was just starting her career 18 years ago… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $16 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $16 million jackpot… Continue reading

Hundreds of neo-Nazis march in Berlin, protected by police

BERLIN — Hundreds of neo-Nazis waving flags with the colours of the… Continue reading

Romanian trucker is Genoa bridge’s 43rd victim

GENOA, Italy — The Latest on the Italy bridge collapse (all times… Continue reading

1 dead, 6 injured after building collapse in Nigeria capital

ABUJA, Nigeria — An emergency response chief says one person is dead… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month