Canada's Supreme Court rules in favour of national carbon tax

By Nigel Maxwell	
		A green industry		Carbon tax poised to hurt farmers says Sask. elected leaders

Canada's top court ruled in a 6-3 decision the price on carbon is constitutional, officially ending a years-long battle between the feds and the several conservative provincial governments including Alberta.

The case first went to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, which ruled against the provincial government in May 2019.

"They wasted money putting stickers on gas pumps to show how angry they were...but anger address the climate crisis, only real action will".

"We are well positioned to move forward as climate action leaders instead of the climate action stalkers that our provincial government has been throughout the process", she said.

"Today's decision by the Supreme Court of Canada does not change our core conviction that the federal carbon tax is bad environmental policy, bad economic policy, and simply wrong", Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said in a statement.

Under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, the federal government collects taxes on 21 types of fuel, including gasoline.

Meili said now the real work begins, but he wants Trudeau to admit the carbon tax disproportionately affects people in Saskatchewan. They objected the precedent the majority's decision sets would allow Ottawa to set minimum national standards in all areas of provincial jurisdiction.

In the Supreme Court's majority decision, Chief Justice Richard Wagner writes that addressing climate change requires collective national and worldwide action because the harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions are not confined by borders.

The NDP government implemented a $20 per tonne carbon tax on January 1, 2017.

Moe said his government will respect the decision but doesn't agree with it.

"It is a threat of the highest order to the country, and indeed to the world", Wagner wrote for six of the nine judges.

"The undisputed existence of a threat to the future of humanity can not be ignored", he wrote.

"Two-thirds of Albertans continue to oppose a carbon tax and that's why we repealed the NDP carbon tax", the premier said.

In a virtual press conference on Thursday morning hosted by EnviroCollective, several Saskatchewan climate activist groups celebrated the Supreme Court of Canada's decision.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, leader of one of the challenging provinces, called the decision disappointing and warned erodes provincial jurisdiction.

It sets minimum pricing standards for provinces to meet.

The onus at the courts was on the federal government to prove this was an issue of national concern, rather than leaving it to individual provinces.

He noted the three provinces that challenged the ruling also withdrew from the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

"What happens if, as Scott Moe seemed to indicate today, Saskatchewan brings in its own provincial carbon tax, Alberta doesn't?"

"In each province, the legislature may exclusively make laws in relation to (a) exploration for non-renewable natural resources in the province; (b) development, conservation and management of non-renewable natural resources and forestry resources in the province, including laws in relation to the rate of primary production therefrom; and (c) development, conservation and management of sites and facilities in the province for the generation and production of electrical energy."

As of December 2020, the Alberta government had spent more than $1 million on that effort, including to earn a 4-1 victory in the Court of Appeal of Alberta.

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