Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney is threatening to enact legislation on the NDP's turn-off-the-tap, which was presented by Premier Rachel Notley's government.
Bill 12 would restrict Alberta's oil and gas shipments to the capital. if the province continues on the path of expanding Trans Mountain Pipeline.
Kenney rushed to support the pipeline, which included enacting legislation.
Joel Bakan, a law professor at the University of British Columbia, said there is no constitutional basis for cutting off gas between provinces.
"I can say with absolute confidence that Alberta will lose this case," Bakan said.
The Constitution Act of 1867 says that a province can not interfere in interprovincial trade and commerce, he said.
"Over the years, courts have carved out ways in which provinces can take care of their own [legitimate] interests … but there is no authority for the provinces to discriminate actively or retaliate against a province by cutting off inter-provincial trade. "
Bakan anticipates that the bill will become law, but says B.C. will go to court the same day to challenge him, that B.C. Attorney General David Eby has already said he will do.
"From a legal point of view, it's a very open and closed case," Bakan said.
What does a turn-off-the-toaps law look like
If passed, the turn-the-to-tap law would create a licensing scheme, Bakan said. Suppliers from Alberta wishing to provide B with oil would have to obtain a license, giving the Alberta government the ability to deny licenses.
"This creates a regime that allows the government to control when, how and if shipments go to the BC," he said.
According to the National Energy Council, most of the gasoline consumed in B.C. comes from Alberta, delivered mostly through the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
Bakan says that it is not just the B.C. government that would defy a "turn-off-the-tap" law. Private sector distributors and suppliers in Alberta are likely to challenge you in court as well.
"It's an economic blow to them because they're losing the market," Bakan said.
Kathryn Harrison, a professor of political science at UBC and an expert on climate policy, agrees that Alberta will not be able to fix its economic problems with a law closing the taps.
"Alberta can not build the Trans Mountain pipeline. It's not within its authority," Harrison told Stephen Quinn, a CBC host The Early Edition
"It is a federal decision and it is before the courts that authority may have to complicate the transportation of heavy oil by the province."
Listen to the full interview with Kathryn Harrison here:
With archives from Early Edition and Yvette Brend.