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

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Feb. 17 to 23

PHOTOS: Looking back at 2010 Olympics with top 10 images captured by Chilliwack photojournalist

Progress photographer, Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

PHOTOS: Spirit of the People Powwow underway now in Chilliwack

Thousands of people have gathered this weekend to take part in the powwow open to the public

Cabaret of Wonders returns to Chilliwack with both new and familiar magicians

New material, new performers at Shawn Farquhar’s Cabaret of Wonders XVIII at Cultural Centre

Over a dozen birds found mysteriously dead on Abbotsford road

Ministry of Agriculture notified of the strange occurrence on No. 4 Road

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

B.C. man released from quarantined cruise ship in Japan

Because Spencer Fehrenbacher has American citzensip, he was evacuated by the U.S.

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Homicide team investigating after body found in Abbotsford

Resident finds deceased person on Keeping Road on Sumas Mountain

Most Read