Supreme Court rules federal carbon tax constitutional

By Canadian Press	
		Supreme Court to rule Thursday on whether carbon tax is constitutional

"This decision today means not only carbon pollution pricing can be driven federally, but so can the multiple other complimentary measures that are needed to push down our emissions and replace our current fossil dependents with clean green energy options".

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Thursday that the national price on pollution is entirely constitutional, upholding a pivotal piece of the Liberal climate-change plan.

Stewart Elgie, director of the environment institute at the University of Ottawa, said this was "the most important environmental court decision ever in Canada".

"One thing Albertans can be sure of is we are not going to use the excuse of this decision or the federal carbon tax to squeeze more money for the government out of Albertans".

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is not deterred by the ruling, saying the carbon tax is "bad environmental policy, bad economic policy, and simply wrong".

Under the carbon pricing act, Ottawa can impose a federal levy on provinces that do not have an adequate carbon pricing system of their own.

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"We've demonstrated a real willingness to work with national governments, where we can find common ground, to address the challenge of climate change through practical steps to reduce emissions", he said. The three provinces that brought the challenges, supported by a majority of other provinces, argued that this is an overreach into provincial taxation law and control over the production of natural resources.

Justices Malcolm Rowe and Russell Brown dissented with the entire decision, arguing Canada had not shown that climate change reaches the level of national concern.

"About how we can move forward together to strengthen local economies and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions", he added. It applies on nearly all input fuels including diesel and propane, coal and heavy fuel oil.

To that end, the NDP urged the provincial government to fight for tax exemptions on fuel used for grain drying and rebates that will help families get more back than they pay in the tax.

The program applies a price per tonne to fuel purchases by individuals and businesses with lower emissions, and on part of the actual emissions produced by entities with large emissions, such as pipelines, manufacturing plants and coal-fired power plants.

The Saskatchewan government launched a constitutional challenge in April 2018, claiming the federal government did not have the right to impose the tax on provinces.

Ontario and Saskatchewan appealed the decisions to the Supreme Court while British Columbia, which supports Ottawa's position, appealed the Alberta decision.

In September, the Supreme Court of Canada reserved judgement on the case after two days of hearings and presentations from dozens of parties from multiple provinces.

President Joe Biden's next key legislative priority is a massive spending package - $2 trillion is what he campaigned on, and he's reportedly finalizing a proposal closer to $3 trillion.

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

From praise to disappointment and outrage, reaction is coming in swiftly to the Supreme Court decision on the federal carbon tax.

Alberta's courts had explained, "What is authorized under the federal carbon tax act, indefinitely and into the future, and in the sole unfettered discretion of the executive, is endlessly expansive".

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2021. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails.

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