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

IN IT TOGETHER: Important to move your butt

Maple Ridge mom offers series of wellness columns aimed at helping navigate through COVID-19

LOOKING BACK: Quarantine back in the day of the Spanish flu kept Maple Ridge safe

When the 1918 epidemic hit Haney, washing hands, respecting isolation rules, and disinfecting helped

Council conduct bylaw under scrutiny in Maple Ridge

Bylaw being questioned at Committee of the Whole Tuesday afternoon

Pitt Meadows to host live virtual city council meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Mayor Dingwall updates on new initiatives and city staffing

Haney Bypass section closed for Easter long weekend

Bypass improvements expected to be completed later this year

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Air Canada says it will apply for wage subsidy to rehire workers after cutting 16,500 jobs

Air Canada said March revenues fell by more than 30 per cent year over year

Canadians urged to include pets in their COVID-19 emergency plans

That includes plans about who will care for them if the owner is hospitalized

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19 world update: Joy in Wuhan as lockdown lifted; Pope denounces profiteers

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news items from around the world

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

Most Read