Science

Federal government's carbon-pricing law is valid, Ontario's top court rules

Federal government's carbon-pricing law is valid, Ontario's top court rules”

The federal government has argued that carbon pricing is a crucial tool for reducing emissions that cause climate change. Lawyers for the federal government also said the charges imposed in the act are designed to create financial incentives for Canadians in those jurisdictions to reduce emissions and to encourage the development of low-carbon technologies.

Ontario's courts have ruled in favour of Ottawa on that province's challenge of the federally implemented carbon tax - the second decision in a row that has gone against Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe's anti-carbon-tax fight.

In a 4-1 decision, the court rejected Ontario's claim that the federal government had exceeded its jurisdiction by applying a tax on greenhouse gas emissions. Ontario argued that federal Parliament doesn't have the authority to regulate all activity that contributes to GHG emissions and the power it assumed under the pricing act would dramatically shift the constitutional balance between Ottawa and the provinces.

Provincial lawyers told the Court of Appeal the federal government would end up with the power to regulate nearly every facet of life - such as when you can drive, where you can live, or whether you can have a wood-burning fireplace.

Provincial lawyers told the Court of Appeal the federal government would end up with the power to regulate nearly every facet of life - such as when you can drive, where you can live, or whether you can have a wood-burning fireplace.

For their part, federal lawyers argued the province was fearmongering.

While saying that policy decisions were best left to legislators to decide, the court still found the law was valid based in part by experts claiming a price on carbon was the best method to fight climate change. "They are not taxes". It said the carbon price is not technically a tax because it is meant to achieve a regulatory result and the revenues are returned to jurisdictions in which they are collected.

The province said it will appeal today's decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. "It would be great if Doug Ford took the $30 million he's using to fight carbon pricing, and instead used it to fight climate change". Their efforts can be undermined by the "action or by the inaction" of other provinces.

But since 2016, new right-wing governments in Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and now Alberta have joined Saskatchewan in opposition to the carbon price, with Ontario and Alberta scrapping their own provincial pricing schemes.

In all, 14 interveners - among them some provinces, Indigenous groups and environmental and business organizations - lined up to defend or attack the federal law, with most siding with Ottawa.

In Can also, Saskatchewan's high court in a 3-2 dedication upheld the carbon pricing legislation as constitutional in a same case. Indigenous groups, for example, stressed their vulnerability to global warming that they said could destroy their way of life.

Some observers said the Ontario whisper became extra about politics than the atmosphere.

The issue is expected to be ultimately decided before the country's top court. "We know, as do the people of this province, that the federal government's carbon tax is making life more expensive for Ontarians and is putting jobs and businesses at risk".



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