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

Salmo RCMP report drug bust

Fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine were seized along with Canadian cash

West Kootenay SPCA hopes you’ll have a heart for Cupid

Cat who tangled with a bobcat seeking a permanent home

New ‘hub’ model takes regional approach to doctor recruitment in West Kootenay

Kootenay-Boundary a provincial leader in effectively attracting doctors to work here

Painting Ourselves Visible group to create mural

A new partnership between Kootenay Gallery of Art and Castlegar Pride

Castlegar Skating Club prepares for regional championships

Watch local skaters on March 11 at 4:30 p.m.

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Most Read