Alberta Appeals court sides with province on carbon tax
February 25, 2020
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The Alberta Court of Appeal gave opponents of the federal carbon tax their first win on Monday when it ruled that the levy is unconstitutional.
In a 4-1 decision, the Appeal Court said the legislation that brought in the tax erodes provincial jurisdiction.
“The act is a constitutional Trojan Horse,” said a portion of the decision written by three of the four majority justices. “Almost every aspect of the provinces’ development and management of their natural resources … would be subject to federal regulation.”
A fourth judge filed a separate opinion in support of the majority, according to the National Post.
The Alberta government had argued in its challenge of the tax that climate change isn’t a national concern requiring overriding federal intervention. A provincial lawyer said in hearings last December that if greenhouse gases could be considered such, then anything could.
The federal government countered by saying climate change is a national and global issue that can’t be left to each of the provinces to take on alone.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney immediately welcomed the ruling.
“We will continue to stand with our allies in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Quebec and elsewhere in defending working families and defending our constitutional authority as a government,” he told the National Post. “We expect the government of Canada to comply with the order of the court today and to remove the federal carbon tax on Albertans.”
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe also called for the tax to be rescinded.
The court ruling is a constitutional reference and contains no orders.
Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson pointed out that two other provincial Appeal Courts — Saskatchewan and Ontario — sided with the federal legislation.
The Supreme Court is to hear arguments next month when Saskatchewan appeals the ruling from its court.