“Co-operative federalism” (BC government, Burnaby) vs. “paramountcy” (Canada, Alberta, Kinder Morgan)

Why doesn’t Prime Minister Justin Trudeau do something concrete about stalled construction of Kinder Morgan’s 525,000 b/d Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline? This lament was heard often in Alberta over the past few weeks. The truth is, a great deal has been happening on this file, but behind the scenes as the National Energy Board has sorted out just how much authority the BC Government and the City of Burnaby have over the project. At the heart of the debate are two competing principles – co-operative federalism and federal paramountcy – for interpreting the Canadian Constitution. Prof. Margot Young of the UBC law school joined me to explain these arcane but important concepts.