Premier John Horgan suffered a rather humiliating defeat last week when B.C.’s Court of Appeal dismissed the NDP’s bid to restrict oil shipments from Alberta.
In the unanimous ruling, a panel of five judges confirmed what Horgan had been told from the very beginning. The federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over the shipment of oil through the Trans Mountain pipeline according to the Canadian constitution. When the NDP first took office in 2017, provincial government lawyers quickly informed the newly minted premier of this simple fact.
Ignoring his own legal advice, Horgan pressed his doomed court case in order to please the
environmental wing of the NDP and provide comfort to his Green Party partners. All of this was done at taxpayer’s expense, and it seems that we will continue to fork over even more money as Horgan swears to take the matter all the way to the Supreme Court.
But given the rather straightforward ruling last week, Horgan’s Supreme Court appeal is destined to crash and burn. In the coming weeks, Horgan will suffer another serious blow when the federal government is expected to announce it will proceed with construction of the pipeline after further consultations with First Nations are concluded. All of this court intrigue ignores the fact that B.C. and Alberta enjoys the strongest two-way trade relationship in the country.
A recent report from the B.C. Business Council reveals that British Columbia buys some $2.6 billion in oil and gas from Alberta annually, while Alberta spends about $2.2 billion purchasing natural gas from B.C.
In fact, B.C. exports more merchandise to Alberta than it does to China. Similarly Alberta exports more to B.C. than it does to all of Asia.
What makes the situation even more ridiculous is the NDP launching a second court action (the first one failed) to challenge Alberta’s turn-off-the taps legislation. So on the one-hand, Horgan is appealing to the nation’s top court to halt more oil shipments from Alberta, and on the other he wants to ensure B.C. gets all the oil and gas we need.
No wonder no court in the land takes Horgan and the NDP seriously.