Saskatchewan to apply to participate in B.C. case to restrict increased bitumen flows

Justice Minister Don Morgan will be getting involved in B.C.'s reference case over permitting increased oil imports. Global News

EDITOR”S NOTE: This article initially said Saskatchewan will be an intervener in B.C.’s reference case. A representative from the Justice Ministry told Global News there was confusion in the terminology in the government of Saskatchewan’s initial press release. They are currently applying to participate in the case.

Saskatchewan announced May 9 that they will be applying to get involved in a reference case currently before B.C.’s Court of Appeal.

On April 26, the B.C. government announced they would be launching their case to see whether it could pass legislation that would mandate companies receive a permit before increasing the flow of bitumen through the province.

If the court rules in favour of the B.C. government’s question it would have the potential to stop Kinder Morgan’s federally approved Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

READ MORE: B.C. government asking courts to rule on new permitting system to restrict bitumen flow

If approved, Saskatchewan’s Attorney General Don Morgan will be taking part in the case on behalf of the province.

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“We are dismayed that a pipeline that will benefit many people across Canada continues to be held up by unreasonable delays,” Morgan said. “As we argued in the previous case involving the city of Burnaby, it is Saskatchewan’s position that these pipelines are in the national interest and fall under federal, not provincial, jurisdiction.”

B.C. Premier John Horgan said the following his province announced its reference question:

“We have asked the courts to confirm B.C.’s powers within our jurisdiction, to defend B.C.’s powers within our jurisdiction, to defend B.C.’s interests, so that there is clarity for today and for the generations to come,” Horgan.

“Our government will continue to stand up for the right to protect B.C.’s environment, economy and coast.”

This all comes after Saskatchewan launched its own reference question one day before B.C.’s over the potential for a federal carbon tax being imposed on the province. Saskatchewan’s question is whether or not The Greenhouse Pollution Pricing Act is unconstitutional in part or as a whole.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan files constitutional reference case over carbon tax

The province argues that while the federal government does have the authority to impose taxes across Canada, it is unconstitutional to impose taxes only on certain jurisdictions.

“Simply put, we do not believe the federal government has the right to impose a tax on one province but not others just because they don’t like our climate change plan,” Morgan said on April 25.

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B.C.’s proposed legislation for oil and bitumen import permits follows both Saskatchewan and Alberta introducing legislation for oil and energy product export permits.

READ MORE: Sask. aims to introduce export permits for oil and gas due to B.C.’s Trans Mountain delays

Alberta’s goal is to “turn off the taps” if B.C. continues to hold up the Trans Mountain pipeline. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said his province’s legislation is to make sure Saskatchewan isn’t filling B.C.’s tanks if Alberta stops shipping oil.​

With files from Richard Zussman