B.C. filed a statement of claim in Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench last month calling the law unconstitutional and has made a similar filing in Federal Court. (Flickr photo)

‘B.C.’s vital interests are at stake’: Lawyers battle over Alberta’s turn-off-the-taps law

Alberta government lawyer argued that the province’s turn-off-the taps legislation not meant to hurt B.C.

A lawyer for the Alberta government has argued that the province’s turn-off-the taps legislation is not meant to hurt B.C. despite political rhetoric that suggests otherwise.

A Calgary judge is hearing B.C.’s request for an injunction against the law.

The province filed a statement of claim in Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench last month calling the law unconstitutional and has made a similar filing in Federal Court.

Evan Dixon, a lawyer for the Alberta government, says the legislation is neutral on its face and there have been no orders to restrict the flow of oil to B.C.

He also argued B.C.’s attorney general does not have standing to fight the law in court because there are parties that would be more directly affected.

Gareth Morley, a lawyer for the B.C. government, said it’s the attorney general’s job to stick up for the public interest.

“We’re here because British Columbia’s vital interests are at stake,” Morley told the court Friday.

ALSO READ: No pipeline fireworks as Western premiers exit annual meeting

Queen’s Bench Justice Robert Hall interrupted Dixon frequently to challenge him on his points. He said it’s clear from Premier Jason Kenney’s comments in the legislature that the law is meant to squeeze Alberta’s western neighbour.

“It’s to lay some hurt on B.C. and so the government of B.C. says, ‘I’m going to stand up for my people,’” Hall said.

The legislation 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 pipeline expansion.

The new United Conservative government in Alberta proclaimed it into force shortly after Kenney was sworn in.

Kenney has said he doesn’t intend to use the law right now, but he will if B.C. throws up roadblocks to the pipeline.

The project, 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 its expansion 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 was approved for a second time by the federal cabinet last week.

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the Courtenay-Alberni riding

In an effort to inform the Courtenay-Alberni riding constituents, we have supplied… Continue reading

Crew keeps worried mother at bay while rescuing entangled baby humpback near Ucluelet

“These animals are massive, they’re powerful and it really is dangerous.”

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

Alberni School District considers three name changes

Neill Elementary, Ucluelet Secondary and school district identified for new names

Tofino health food store Green Soul Organics shuts down

“It was more than just a job. It was a lifestyle.”

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Newcomer Ferland lines up with sniper Pettersson as Vancouver Canucks camp opens

Ferland provides more depth and a scoring threat up front, Pettersson says

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

Professor Paul Evans says he served on Cameron Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee

B.C. police watchdog to investigate man’s head injury during RCMP arrest

Suspect fled on a bicycle and fell off when an officer attempted to stop him

Most Read