The B.C. government has acted swiftly in challenging Alberta’s Bill 12.
The province has filed at Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench for immediate relief from the courts, in essence an injunction, over Alberta’s proclamation of the “turn off the taps” legislation.
There is no timeline on how quickly the courts could rule in the case, but the B.C. government has insisted the law should be struck down as quickly as possible if the courts rule it is unconstitutional.
WATCH: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney talks about Alberta’s ‘deep frustration’ with pipeline delays
“We believe it is unconstitutional. If there is no intent to use it this is not I believe a provocative action but instead to safeguard the interests of British Columbia in the long term,” Premier John Horgan said.
“I made it clear to the premier of Alberta that my interest, like his, is to protect the interests of the people I represent and I fully intend to continue to do that.”
The legislation, put into law on Tuesday night by newly sworn-in Alberta premier Jason Kenney and his cabinet, would allow the Alberta government to direct truckers, pipeline companies and rail operators on how much product could be shipped and when.
B.C. Attorney General David Eby promised to challenge the constitutional legality of the legislation as soon as it was proclaimed into law. The B.C. government has long argued that the Alberta government does not have the legal right to decide what provinces they want to restrict the flow of gas to.
WATCH: Alberta and B.C. gear up for showdown over ‘turn off the taps’ legislation
If Kenney decided to use the legislation, it would drive gas prices in British Columbia even higher.
On Wednesday, Kenney told reporters the B.C. government had held back permits for the Trans Mountain expansion. Horgan says that is false and the B.C. government has never disrupted or delayed the permitting process other than delays to protect B.C.’s interests.
“We haven’t been frustrating permits. I have told you the facts. Mr. Kenney, who has been on the job a day and is just decompressing from the high rhetoric of campaigns, is saying something that is not correct. We were not thwarting permits in any way,” Horgan said.
WATCH: ‘I urged him not to do this’: Alberta Opposition Leader Rachel Notley on Kenney proclaiming Bill 12 into law
“I am open to Premier Kenney’s openness for dialogue and we hope to meet face-to-face in the next 30 days.”
The ongoing spat between the two provinces stems from Premier John Horgan’s opposition to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
“Albertans are rightly feeling deep frustration: a sense that we’ve contributed massively to the rest of Canada, but are being blocked and pinned down at every turn,” Kenney said.
“We’re proud to have helped our fellow Canadians when times were tough — but now it’s Albertans who are going through a time of trial.”
If used, the Alberta says the legislation would require any company exporting petroleum products from Alberta to acquire a licence to do so, and would impose fines for contravening the act.
Violators would face penalties of up to $1 million a day for individuals and $10 million a day for corporations, the government said Tuesday.
The B.C. government previously filed a claim in court but were told it was too early for a ruling because the law had not been proclaimed. The new ruling has some minor changes, including changes to the timeline and mention of the new government.
Read the entire statement of claim
–with files from Karen Bartko