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

Two fires of note burning in Southeast Fire Centre

As of Saturday afternoon there were more than 20 fires burning in the Southeast Fire Centre.

One home lost in Wycliffe grass fire

RDEK rescinds remaining evacuation orders for three properties

Dancing Through the Seasons next Wednesday at Centre 64

MIKE REDFERN La Cafamore, the classical music ensemble based in Rossland, returns… Continue reading

Highland Dancers bring home many medals

11 of Kimberley and Cranbrook’s Highland Dancers competed in the Scotdance Canada… Continue reading

Two Kimberley men place 16th in longest paddle in the world

We quickly realized that we were driving a bathtub with two pool noodles: Matt Thompson.

Watch: News recap, Kimberley

A quick recap of the top news stories this week in Kimberley.

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

ZONE 1: Hannah Tracey looks to mom as role model while at BC Games

‘She has believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself,’ Tracey said at BC Summer Games in Cowichan

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Haida Gwaii village faces housing crisis, targets short-term rentals

Housing is tight and the village is pretty close to zero vacancy

Most Read