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26 May 2018, 01:21 | Justin Tyler
B.C. files lawsuit against Alberta government over Bill 12
The simmering battle between British Columbia and Alberta heated up again on Tuesday as B.C. filed a statement of claim in Alberta's Court of Queen's Bench.
The bill gives the Alberta government the ability to retaliate against the B.C. government for any delays to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, including driving up gas prices and restricting exports to the province that would include gasoline, oil, diesel and natural gas.
The lawsuit claims the legislation is unconstitutional because it violates section 121, which allows: "All articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces".
Kinder Morgan has halted non-essential construction on the pipeline and set a May 31 deadline to decide whether it will proceed with the expansion.
Notley bowed out of a Western premier's meeting on Wednesday in Yellowknife, saying she could not discuss issues like a national prescription drug plan in the presence of B.C. Premier John Horgan while his government is trying to stop the pipeline project.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley saw some irony in B.C.'s position.
Alberta's allies in the Kinder Morgan dispute refused to sign a pro-pipeline declaration Wednesday at a meeting of western premiers, with provincial leaders sidestepping the heated feud between British Columbia and its neighbour.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he now opposes expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline - but he insists it has nothing to do with the fact a House of Commons seat is opening up in a riding where supporting the pipeline could hurt his chances.
But he later told reporters that Alberta's demand for a pipeline pact failed.
Attorney General David Eby has just announced BC's "next legal steps" after Alberta approved a new piece of legislation last week that would limit how much oil is shipped to B.C.
"In representing Alberta at the table, we want to make something very clear", she said. But in the lawsuit filed on Tuesday, B.C. argues Alberta can not punish it for that stand by cutting off domestic fuel supplies.
When asked if the reference case would spell the end of the court action for his government, Horgan doubled down on the message upon which he was recently elected - that he'll do all he can to explore every court option available.
It's a powerful argument, relying as it does on the words of Alberta politicians themselves about their intentions in crafting Bill 12.
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