Trans Mountain pipeline Anchor Loop project, completed through Jasper National and Mt Robson Provincial Parks in 2008. (Black Press Media files)

VIDEO: B.C. gets injunction against Alberta’s ‘turn-off-the-taps’ law

Judge says bill must be blocked until courts can decide validity

A Federal Court judge has granted the B.C. government a temporary injunction against an Alberta law that could have limited oil exports to other provinces.

In a decision released Tuesday, Justice Sebastien Grammond said Alberta’s so-called turn-off-the-taps legislation raises a serious issue.

“British Columbia … has demonstrated that an embargo of the nature evoked by the members of Alberta’s legislature when debating the act would cause irreparable harm to the residents of British Columbia.”

The B.C. government initially brought the action before Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench, which passed it to the Federal Court.

Alberta tried to strike the action by arguing that it wasn’t in the jurisdiction of the Federal Court, but the judge dismissed that motion. Grammond said B.C. has met the test for blocking the law until the courts can decide its validity.

READ MORE: Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

B.C. Attorney General David Eby said he’s pleased the case will be going to trial.

“We think it’s quite a straightforward case, but the ultimate decision will, of course, be up to the court,” he told reporters in Vancouver, adding that B.C. doesn’t believe Alberta can restrict the flow of refined product to other provinces to punish them for political positions it doesn’t like.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said they’re reviewing the decision to determine whether to appeal or make changes to bring the law into compliance.

“We as a government will do everything that we can within the law to protect the value of our natural resources,” he told reporters in Edmonton.

The turn-off-the-taps legislation gives Alberta the power to crimp energy exports from the province.

The law was passed, but never used, by Alberta’s former NDP government as a way to put pressure on B.C. to drop its fight against the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion to the West Coast.

The new United Conservative government proclaimed it into force shortly after Kenney was sworn into office in April, but he had said it wouldn’t be used unless B.C. throws up further roadblocks to the pipeline.

B.C. had called the law a loaded gun and asked the courts to make sure it didn’t accidentally go off.

Grammond said in his decision that members on both sides of the Alberta legislature explained the law’s purpose in relation to the B.C. government’s actions on the Trans Mountain expansion project.

“These statements make it abundantly clear that the purpose of the act is to inflict economic harm to British Columbia,” he said.

An embargo, he said, would not only cause a considerable increase in the price of gas and diesel in the province, but any fuel shortages could also endanger public safety.

The Trans Mountain 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 Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Big Beach parties spark concern in Ucluelet

“You find needles, left over party debris, bottles and still burning fires.”

Ucluelet’s Terrace Beach Resort is for sale

The commercial offering of 21 suites and cabins was recently listed for $4,495,000

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Most Read