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

Rescuers battle fog, wind, rain on stormy Maple Ridge mountain

Four hikers rescued Sunday in Golden Ears park

MacDuff’s Call: A fond memory, of an old-school teacher

A new year starts in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Flames lose first game of new season

Maple Ridge junior Bs host White Rock Whalers Friday night

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Pair killed in Bamfield bus crash were 18-year-old UVic students

The victims were a young woman from Manitoba and and a young man from the U.S.

Safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash on Vancouver Island

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

National weather forecasters predict average fall, cold winter

The Weather Network says precipitation will about average in most parts of Canada

Two dead, two in critical condition in highway crash near Campbell River

Highway 19 reopened Sunday night after it was closed in both directions

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

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

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

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

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Most Read