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

Aldergrove celebrates Arbour Day: VIDEO

Trees were planted in memory of Langley Township’s community volunteers

PHOTOS: Christy Fraser Memorial underway in Langley

Over 700 athletes from across the province are attending

Fraser Health patients to see 23% hike in knee, hip replacement surgeries

New approach will see first-available surgeon waitlists

Stealth finish winless at Langley Events Centre

Vancouver pro lacrosse team finishes with 0-9 home record

VIDEO: After the trees fell: Hunter Park reopens in Langley City

The rebuilding of the park “has turned disaster into triumph,” mayor says

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Lucky Lotto winner in Aldergrove

$500,000 prize winner in Saturday’s Lotto 649 “Extra” draw

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Langley schools helping schools

Parents’ Advisory Councils work together for the children’s benefit

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

One person arrested after man killed in Vancouver

Police say this is Vancouver’s seventh murder of 2018

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Downtown roads closed for Vancouver Sun Run

Thousands of runners participate in the annual event

Most Read