BC to AB: see you in court

UPDATE: 3 p.m.

British Columbia is preparing to file a lawsuit as early as next week to have Alberta's new fuel restriction law declared unconstitutional.

Attorney General David Eby says B.C. will file its lawsuit in the Court of Queen's Bench in Alberta.

He says B.C. will apply for an injunction and seek damages if Alberta uses the new law to restrict fuel flows to the West Coast.

The Alberta government is expected to pass its Preserving Canada's Economic Prosperity Act as early as today.

Kathleen Ganley, Alberta's justice minister and solicitor general, says in a letter to Eby that Bill 12 protects Alberta's economic interests and those of all Canadians.

The legal dispute between Alberta and B.C. is part of an ongoing and escalating national feud over the $7.4 billion Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion project from northern Alberta to Burnaby, B.C.

ORIGINAL: 6:15 a.m.

Alberta has passed landmark legislation giving it sweeping power to intervene in oil and gas exports that could result in punitive price spikes in British Columbia in the dispute over the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion.

Premier Rachel Notley won't say when and how the power will be used, but said she won't wait long.

"Alberta will be equipped with new tools to assert our rights to control the flow of our resources to British Columbia," Notley said Wednesday prior to Bill 12 passing third and final reading.

"Albertans, British Columbians and all Canadians should understand that if the path forward for the pipeline through B.C. is not settled soon, I'm ready and prepared to turn off the taps."

The bill would give Alberta the power to intervene in the energy market, to decide how much fuel is sent and by what means, be it by rail or pipeline.

B.C. Premier John Horgan called the Alberta law provocative.

"Instead of asking how can we work together on this, they took aggressive action," he said in Chilliwack, B.C.

B.C. Attorney General David Eby, in a letter, said legislation designed to inflict harm on another province violates the constitution.

He urged Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley to first run the bill past the courts to confirm its legality.

"In the absence of such a commitment, I intend to instruct counsel to bring an action challenging its constitutional validity in the courts of Alberta," said Eby.

"Bill 12 is a step back towards trying to resolve differences through threats of economic harm."

Cutting oil flow to B.C. is expected to cause price spikes in gas at the pumps along with other related fuel fees.

But Notley said it's justified legislation, given that Alberta is losing billions of dollars due to transportation bottlenecks and the fact that B.C. is frustrating the federally approved Trans Mountain project.

"With pipeline capacity stretched to the limit, Albertans have the right to choose how our energy is shipped," said Notley.

"Alberta has the right to act in the public interest."

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