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Alberta considering its options after Supreme Court ruling on carbon tax

Alberta considering its options after Supreme Court ruling on carbon tax”

Canada's Supreme Court issued an historic ruling yesterday, deciding by a 6-3 margin the the federal government does indeed have the power to implement a carbon tax (or a price on pollution) in provinces that don't set their own.

"We're going to consider all options, listen to Albertans and see what they want to do". "Now is not the time to increase costs on working families".

Asked if he would restore the Alberta carbon tax he scrapped when he took office in 2018, Kenney said many options are on the table.

The Supreme Court's split decision upholds a pivotal part of the federal Liberal government's climate-change plan, accounting for at least one-third of the emissions Canada aims to cut over the next decade.

Chief Justice Richard Wagner says in the written ruling that climate change is a real danger and evidence shows a price on pollution is a critical element in addressing it.

"It is a threat of the highest order to the country, and indeed to the world", Wagner wrote. "As a result, it passes the threshold test and warrants consideration as a possible matter of national concern", the judgement said.

The onus was on the federal government to prove to the court this is an issue of national concern that would allow it to take control of the matter rather than leaving it to the provinces.

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.

"The Supreme Court ignored the Alberta Court of Appeal's warning and discovered a new federal power that erodes provincial jurisdiction and undermines our constitutional federal system".

Instead, the Alberta government has focused on taxing heavy emitters to produce revenue to further develop green technologies, calling that a fairer system than charging consumers who need to heat their homes or gas up their cars.

Bratt doesn't see the ruling as a federal intrusion on provincial jurisdiction, and pointed to its "narrow" application to carbon pricing. "It was not identified in the constitution", he told CTV News Edmonton.

Kenney notes the federal government is permitting provinces to bring in their own policies.

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Premier Jason Kenney has said he is disappointed with the ruling but the province will continue to fight the carbon tax. They've lost this court case.

Kenney has since put $1.3 billion into the Keystone XL oil pipeline expansion, only to see it cancelled by the US government. The war room has been a disaster.

That inquiry, led by forensic accountant Steve Allan, has gone over time and over budget while being criticized for soliciting reports said to rely on junk climate science and conspiracy theories. It shouldn't be about blindly trying to throw out Trudeau's Liberals by backing a party that can't even get its act together on accepting the clearly evident and growing threat posed by increasing carbon emissions.

"Where's the win from this "fight back" strategy?"

Several pundits, politicians, and activists in Alberta have expressed their views on the decision with some saying it is great news for the environment while others believe it will further hurt the economy.

"(The) Supreme Court of Canada just dropped a love letter to the planet", said Catherine Abreu, the executive director of Climate Action Network Canada.

"When we have farmers that have been sequestering carbon and practicing no till, they should get credit for that, they should get paid for that and of course this federal government does't recognize that, so that's a frustration", he said.

"After promising not to, Justin Trudeau tripled the carbon tax, jeopardizing hundreds of thousands of jobs", O'Toole said in a statement.

"Or does he just hope no one pays attention to that?" The province has already asked the federal government for this change and for it to be retroactive to January 1, 2019. That would be fun...

It was responding to lower court challenges of the tax by Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario.

The Saskatchewan premier said his province would be looking to "forge our own path without being subject to the punitive and ineffective" federal pricing, and Ontario's environment minister called the decision disappointing but one the province would respect.



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