The British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled on Friday that the British Columbia would not be able to restrict oil shipments through its borders, and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has since issued a response to the decision.
The ruling was the result of the BC government submitting a reference question last year to determine the province’s right to “protect the province from the threat of a diluted bitumen spill.”
However, as the Trans Mountain Pipeline has become an interprovincial affair (and therefore federal), Justice Mary Newbury stated in her ruling that, although Canada acknowledges that provincial environmental laws may affect interprovincial undertakings, “the proposed addition is targeted legislation and would effectively lead to a situation of concurrent jurisdiction, contrary to the exclusive authority contemplated by the Constitution Act.”
“The amendment thus lies beyond provincial jurisdiction,” she wrote.
Kenney, a vocal supporter of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, called for BC Premier John Horgan to put an end to what Kenney named a “campaign of obstruction.”
“British Columbia’s highest court has spoken, unanimously, and the time for obstruction of the TMX pipeline is now over. I look forward to working with BC and the federal government to realize the enormous benefits of this project, which is supported by clear majorities in both our provinces and across Canada,” Kenney stated.
“BC Premier John Horgan has said many times that this reference and the other legal challenges to the pipeline are ‘about the rule of law.’ We agree, and in light of the court’s decision, we hope that the BC government will respect the rule of law and end its campaign of obstruction.”
However, BC Attorney General David Ebby spoke mere hours after the decision, hinting that BC’s time in court against the Trans Mountain Pipeline may not yet be over.
Asked about the optics of the BC government taking their case to the highest court in the country, following a unanimous ruling by the BC Court of Appeal that wasn’t in their favour, Eby was asked about the continuing costs to taxpayers in this ongoing legal battle.
“In terms of the financial costs of going to court to clarify this question, to clarify the extent of our jurisdiction, it is a fraction of the cost of a catastrophic diluted bitumen spill in terms of the impacts on economy, on jobs, and just cleaning up the mess,” he said.
“We think it’s worthwhile – in terms of clarifying our ability to protect British Columbians from this catastrophic outcome.”
With files from Eric Zimmer