After what’s been almost a month of back-and-forth between BC and Alberta over the issue of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, BC Premier John Horgan said on Thursday his government is moving forward with consultation around four bitumen spill safeguards, while referring to the courts the issue regarding BC’s right to protect its coast.
“We believe it is our right to take appropriate measures to protect our environment, economy and our coast from the drastic consequence of a diluted bitumen spill,” said Horgan. “And we are prepared to confirm that right in the courts.”
Horgan said the province will be retaining expert legal counsel to ready a reference to the courts, before adding that it may take several weeks to bring the reference forward. The reference will “seek to reinforce BC’s constitutional rights to defend against the risks of a bitumen spill.”
And while Horgan has previously said his government has no plans for retaliatory action against Alberta – particularly when it comes to the boycott of BC wine – the Premier said his government’s plan has “generated disproportionate and unlawful reactions from the Alberta government.”
The recent actions of the Alberta government, he said, ” threatens an entire industry and the livelihoods of people who depend on it.”
As such, “we have taken steps to protect our wine industry from the unwarranted trade action by the Government of Alberta.”
Horgan stressed that the issue wasn’t about inter-provincial politics, or even trade agreements.
“It’s about British Columbians’ right to have their voices heard on this critical issue,” he said. “And it’s about BC’s right to defend itself against actions that may threaten our people, our province and our future.”