Environment Minister George Heyman and Premier John Horgan announce court reference, Feb. 22, 2018. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

B.C. government announces court reference on proposed diluted bitumen restriction

Premier John Horgan announced Thursday his government is preparing a constitutional reference case to demonstrate its right to impose new restrictions on the transport of Alberta crude oil.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley responded quickly, saying “B.C. blinked” on something it does not have a right to do, and announced from Edmonton that her government’s boycott of B.C. wine sales is being dropped.

Notley kept open the possibility that the wine ban could return if B.C. continues with what she says is an illegal effort to dictate what can flow through an inter-provincial pipeline.

B.C.’s legal case will take several weeks to prepare, but Horgan said it’s not a retreat from the move that enraged Notley and prompted her to bar the import of B.C. wine.

Horgan said the federal government refused his request to join with B.C. to clarify in court his intent to consult on new regulations regarding the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. B.C. will proceed on its own.

Horgan said the first four points of the government’s plan will proceed as announced – consultation with B.C. residents on oil spill response time, geographic response plans, compensation for loss of public and cultural use of land and the application of regulation to marine spills.

The fifth point, proposed regulation of additional bitumen flows through B.C., “has generated disproportionate and unlawful reactions from the government of Alberta,” Horgan told a news conference at the B.C. legislature.

Horgan said the court action is intended to “have cooler heads prevail” in the pipeline dispute. He declined to provide any details on the question to be put to the courts, saying B.C. will retain legal experts to develop its reference case.

In addition to barring shipments of B.C. wine into Alberta, Notley has conducted a media campaign calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to enforce the permits his government issued. In a series of newspaper ads placed this week, Alberta echoed Trudeau’s comments accusing B.C. of putting his national greenhouse gas reduction deal in jeopardy by trying to block a key concession to Alberta.

B.C. has launched the first-ever formal complaint under Canada’s inter-provincial free trade agreement to call for the B.C. wine ban to be struck down. The B.C. Wine Institute is also applying to the courts for an injunction against Alberta’s action.

The Trans Mountain pipeline has delivered crude oil and refined fuels from northern Alberta to Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby since 1954, and has been shipping diluted bitumen intermittently since the product became available from the Alberta oil sands in the late 1980s.

The pipeline owner Kinder Morgan Canada has received federal and provincial permits to proceed with twinning the line, a project the B.C. NDP promised to oppose in last year’s election.

B.C. has already filed an application to appeal a B.C. Supreme Court ruling against the City of Burnaby, which tried to use its bylaws to prevent work near the terminal. The National Energy Board recently issued permits to Kinder Morgan for a tunnel through Burnaby Mountain to keep a section of the pipeline expansion away from populated areas.

Just Posted

Heat drop five-set battle to Huskies

Heats’ Shawn Zao impressed in his first outing of the conference season

Moalin’s 20 point night not enough to beat Cascades

The Heat fell to the Cascades (87-69)

Heat defeat Huskies in five-set nail biter

Jade Bussard would lead the way for the Heat finishing with 16 kills and 13 digs

Penticton United Church welcomes Makers’ Market Nov. 23

From baking, to knitting, to toys and everything in between, get your Christmas shopping done early

Big White receives 17 cm of snow

Opening day is only a couple weeks away, scheduled for Nov. 28

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Dallas Smith, Terri Clark to perform on CP Holiday Train’s B.C. stops

Annual festive food bank fundraiser rolling across province from Dec. 11 to 17

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Most Read