The judges have made the decision many observers were predicting: B.C. does not have the power to limit what flows through the Trans Mountain pipeline.
The B.C. Court of Appeal ruling released Friday was unanimous. Pipelines fall under federal authority, and B.C.’s proposed regulations are unconstitutional. The province has promised to appeal.
On the campaign trail, the NDP had promised to use “every tool in the toolbox” to stop the pipeline expansion. Once the party took power, government lawyers warned ministers to stop saying that because it would be illegal.
Instead, the government proposed a system of permits for anyone who wanted to increase the flow of diluted bitumen through a pipeline. “Anyone,” of course, meant Trans Mountain.
That was clear to Albertans, who banned sales of B.C. wine in the province. The boycott is what prompted Premier John Horgan to cool the rising temperature by sending a reference case to the Court of Appeal.
If the Supreme Court upholds the decision, Horgan will have to dip into the toolbox or concede defeat.