January 20, 2020
British Columbia had been having a hard time making their case against the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, or the TMX. The Trans Mountain Pipeline is a pipeline that transports crude and refined oil from Alberta to the coast of B.C. The British Columbian government wanted to have the ability to regulate what was going through the pipeline, and argued that it might be damaging to the environment. As they had been fighting a losing battle, the B.C government hired private-sector litigator Joseph Arvay, who had worked with similar cases before, to present their case against the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion to the Supreme Court of Canada. Last Thursday, as Arvay was giving his closing statements, he said, “If I’m not going to win the appeal, I don’t want to lose badly”. However, Arvay and the B.C government lost their appeal. Badly.
Typically, in cases that go to the Supreme Court, both sides present their cases and the judges take weeks to decide, the group usually coming back divided. In this case, the judges were unanimous in their decision, all stating that pipelines are a federal responsibility, and once the federal cabinet approves one, a province should not be able to pass a law that would get in one’s way.