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A law that could restrict the flow of oil from Alberta to B.C. will not be declared unconstitutional because it is has not yet been proclaimed, a judge has ruled.
The attorney general of B.C. alleged in a statement of claim that the Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act was meant to counteract steps taken by B.C. in its opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline project.
B.C. had asked Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench to declare the law unconstitutional, but Justice R.J. Hall wrote in a decision issued Friday that since the law was never officially proclaimed, the request to strike it is premature.
The Act was passed by the Alberta legislature last May and allows limits on fuel exports to B.C.
Plans to triple capacity along the existing Trans Mountain pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby have pitted Alberta and the federal government against B.C.’s government, which says the risk of a spill is too great for the province’s environment and economy.
Hall wrote that should the Alberta Government proclaim the Act into force, B.C.’s attorney general may file again.
B.C. Attorney General David Eby argued before the challenge was launched that the Alberta law was unconstitutional because one province cannot punish another.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley defended the law when it was passed, saying her government doesn’t want to impose hardship on B.C. businesses and families, but Alberta must also safeguard its interests.
She also said she was confident it would withstand a legal challenge.
No date has been set for proclaiming the law.
Hall noted in his decision that B.C. filed an affidavit from an official in the province’s Ministry of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources, which said approximately 55% of B.C.’s gasoline and 71% of its diesel is imported from Alberta refineries.
He said the affidavit noted the majority of that fuel travels through the Trans Mountain pipeline, carrying an average of eight million litres per day of refined petroleum products from Alberta to B.C.
With files from the Canadian Press