BC Attorney General David Eby, left, and Environment Minister George Heyman

“I’m confident that the courts will not give B.C. rights it does not possess under our constitution”

In a press release, British Columbia Attorney General David Eby released the following statement regarding the government’s reference case in regards to controlling what is moved in the Trans Mountain pipeline, specifically dilibit.

“In consultation with our lawyers, the government is now in a position to advise that British Columbia will be filing our reference case in the B.C. Court of Appeal within 10 working days, by April 30, 2018. The B.C. Court of Appeal is the highest court to which the Province can refer questions of this nature under B.C.’s Constitutional Question Act,”  said Eby.

“The reference will first be approved by cabinet through order-in-council, and then filed with the Court of Appeal registry. Notice of the reference must be given to the federal government.”

The Federal Court of Appeal will be asked to rule on the constitutionality of the highly controversial “point five” – consultations with residents on whether dilbit would be allowed in federally-regulated BC pipelines.

On Jan. 30., Horgan’s BC NDP government announced its intention to consult British Columbians on five issues:

  • Response times, to ensure timely responses following a spill
  • Geographic response plans, to ensure resources are available to support an immediate response, that take into account unique characteristics of a given sensitive area
  • Compensation for loss of public and cultural use of land, resources or public amenities in the case of spills;
  • Maximizing application of regulations to marine spills
  • Restrictions on the increase of diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) transportation until the behaviour of spilled bitumen can be better understood and there is certainty regarding the ability to adequately mitigate spills

The announcement prompted a ban of B.C. wine from Alberta’s Premier Rachel Notley, which has now been suspended.

“When we came forward with the ban… we made it very clear: ‘Pull Point Five and we will pull the ban.’ And that’s what happened. We’re not trying to escalate (the dispute). We’re trying to make a point and to de-escalate,” said Notley said in early Feb.

“BC is stepping back from the brink and abiding by the law, and this is a good thing. I’m confident that the courts will not give BC rights it does not possess under our constitution.”