VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The BC NDP government is suing the Alberta NDP government.
Attorney General David Eby has announced BC’s “next legal steps” after Alberta approved a new piece of legislation last week that could limit how much oil is shipped here — or cut off the supply entirely.
Premier John Horgan previously said if the bill was passed, his government would sue and his government is following through on that promise.
“You are being sued. You are the Defendant,” reads a claim filed by the BC government in Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench.
“Today’s filing came after we repeatedly called on Alberta not to move forward with blatantly unconstitutional legislation,” says Attorney General David Eby.
“We asked them instead to refer the matter to their courts, as we have done with our legislation, that they had concerns about it. We also proposed that the federal government step in and bring all outstanding legal matters between BC and Alberta to the Supreme Court of Canada. This would fast-track resolution of the inter-provincial dispute. It would bring finality, and it would bring certainty. Unfortunately, both Alberta and Canada refused our proposals.”
Eby insists this a matter of public interest and he believes Alberta is trying to hurt BC for demanding the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is safe.
“It is not to stop the pipeline. It is not to prevent it. It is to ensure that we have the protections in place for when the pipeline is built and is turned on,” he says.
“Alberta is proposing to stop fuel from flowing to British Columbia as punishment, apparently, for our reference case,” adds Eby.
Horgan has accused the federal government of unnecessarily putting taxpayers money at risk by offering financial protection for Kinder Morgan’s investors as the Trans Mountain pipeline drags on.
Kinder Morgan previously issued an ultimatum to Ottawa outlining its financial needs.
The company wants the project to be given a green light by the BC, Alberta and federal governments by no later than May 31st as it seeks financial security.Statement_of_Claim_Final
BC’s Liberal leader blames the NDP government for escalating what he calls an “unnecessary squabble with Alberta.”
Andrew Wilkinson–who like David Eby is a lawyer–says the only winners are lawyers on both sides of a dispute that’s “spiraling out of control” and he’s also predicting BC taxpayers will end up covering Alberta’s legal costs.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is reacting to today’s announcement.
“It’s very interesting. On one hand they don’t want our oil, and on the other hand [BC] is suing us to give them our oil. So, that happened.”
Yesterday, Notley announced she’s not taking part in this week’s Western premiers conference which starts tonight in Yellowknife.
Notley said it’s not “business as usual” for inter-provincial relations; she’s sending a pair of cabinet ministers instead, but they’ll have an extra agenda on top of the planned discussions on cannabis and pharmacare.
“If we want to make sure every Canadian can get the medications they need, we need to be able to pay for it,” she says, adding “one person” at the meetings is trying to remove some $15-billion dollars from the economy by shutting down the expansion project.
Notley says her time is better spent in Alberta, figuring out how to move forward on Trans Mountain.
“Maybe spending 45 minutes chastising Premier John Horgan in front of other premiers would be a good use of my time, but quite honestly, right now, we’re very close to some very important decisions.”
She also wants to keep herself available to Kinder Morgan as the May 31st deadline looms for the company to get reassurance on the project.