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'Turn-off-the-taps' legislation now in favour of Alberta

The Federal Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of Alberta, affirming the province's right to control the amount and destination of oil flowing through provincial pipelines.

Alberta and British Columbia have been deadlocked in a legal dispute over "turn-off-the-taps legislation" initiated by the former since 2018; the dispute between Canada's two westernmost provinces arose over the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Previously, a lower court suspended Alberta’s Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act in 2019 and granted British Columbia an injunction blocking the law until the courts could render a verdict on the validity of the act.

Today, that decision was made by three judges against B.C., overturning the injunction and making the province pay Alberta for the court costs. B.C. had previously argued that Alberta does not have the constitutional authority to limit oil exports to other provinces.

Although B.C. additionally claimed that the law would cause it harm, the court ruled that “until Alberta imposes restrictions on exports through action taken pursuant to the act, a (constitutional) dispute has yet to arise and may not arise at all. Put otherwise, the dispute as it currently stands remains more theoretical than real."

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage noted that the provincial government was happy with the outcome: “We remain committed to standing up for Alberta, including protecting the value of our natural resources.”

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