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Federal Court of Appeal upholds Alberta right to turn-off-the-taps legislation

Last Updated Apr 27, 2021 at 2:46 pm MDT

Pipe for the Trans Mountain pipeline is unloaded in Edson, Alta. on Tuesday June 18, 2019. The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an attempt by British Columbia to assert authority over what can flow through an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

OTTAWA — The B-C government has lost a lengthy court battle over Alberta’s so-called “turn-off-the- taps” legislation.

The Federal Court of Appeal has rejected B-C’s argument that the legislation allowing Alberta to limit oil exports to other provinces is discriminatory and beyond its powers.

The decision is a victory for the province in its battle with British Columbia over so-called turn-off-the-taps legislation enacted by Alberta in 2018, at the height of a dispute between the two provinces over construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Three justices agree an earlier injunction blocking Alberta from using its legislation should be overturned and B.C. should pay costs of the lengthy litigation, although the justices rely on different reasons to reach the same conclusion.

B.C. initially appealed the constitutionality of the Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act, arguing Alberta does not have the power to discriminate by limiting oil exports to other provinces.

The constitution gives provinces the right to own and develop their natural resources, and the ruling says no export limits have yet been imposed so B.C.’s action is “premature.”

The 1,150-kilometre Trans Mountain expansion is to triple the amount of oil flowing from the Edmonton area to B.C.’s Lower Mainland and from there to markets overseas.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press