A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if — or they believe when — the federal government reapproves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion next year. Pipes are seen at the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain facility in Edmonton, Thursday, April 6, 2017. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

The British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled Friday that the province did not have the authority to restrict shipments of diluted bitumen through its borders. Here are five takeaways from the decision and its impacts:

1. Provinces cannot bring in legislation that interferes with the federal government’s exclusive jurisdiction over interprovincial pipelines.

While the B.C. government did not dispute that the federal government was responsible for cross-boundary infrastructure projects, it argued that it should also be allowed to bring in legislation to protect its lands and waters from the environmental risks. The court disagreed, ruling the proposed legislation interfered with federal government’s powers and that the National Energy Board is the body entrusted with regulating the flow of resources across Canada.

READ MORE: B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

2. The court found B.C.’s legislation was aimed directly at the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

B.C. argued that its proposed legislative amendments were meant to protect its environment, while the federal government and Alberta argued the goal was to block or delay the Trans Mountain project. Justice Mary Newbury wrote on behalf of a five-judge panel that the proposed amendments were targeted at one substance, heavy oil, in one interprovincial project: the Trans Mountain expansion.

3. B.C. still wants to take its chances before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Although the panel unanimously agreed that the proposed legislation was unconstitutional, B.C. still plans to appeal to the highest court. B.C. Attorney General David Eby said his government originally wanted to take the case straight to the Supreme Court, but the federal government declined to co-operate and so B.C. had to first file it in the provincial Appeal Court. He said the Supreme Court of Canada has overturned unanimous B.C. Appeal Court decisions in the past.

4. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and former premier, Rachel Notley, are celebrating the decision as a win for the province.

Kenney said he hopes the B.C. government will respect the rule of law and end its “campaign of obstruction,” adding that the project would be a “win-win” for both B.C. and Alberta in creating jobs and increasing the flow of natural resources. Notley, now leader of the NDP Opposition, said she used a ban on B.C. wines last year to “force” the province to take the reference case to court. “Turns out B.C.’s toolbox was more Fisher Price than DeWalt,” she said, referring to B.C. Premier John Horgan’s statement that the government would use every tool in the toolbox to protect the coast from a potential spill.

5. It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project.

Eby did not directly answer a question about what else his government would do to oppose the pipeline, as he maintained B.C.’s legislation was about protecting its environment and that the Supreme Court of Canada would have the final say. But Peter McCartney, a climate campaigner with the Wilderness Committee, said there was plenty B.C. could do to halt or delay the project, including adding conditions to its provincial environmental certificate or ordering a public health and safety review of the project.

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Youth voyageur canoeing program being developed in Vanderhoof

New Caledonia Paddlers Club are collaborating with SD91 and NVSS to develop the program.

COVID-19: 23 non-profits funded in northern B.C. through emergency support fund

Both Vanderhoof and Fraser Lake have received funding through United Way’s first round of allocations.

Vanderhoof man dead following two-vehicle collision on Canada Day

The incident occured on Highway 97C near Barnes Lake Road in Ashcroft.

Police investigate July 2 homicide in Houston

Man succumbed to injuries at Pearson Road residence

Homicide investigation underway in Prince George

A 26-year-old woman has died as a result of stabbing.

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Most Read