The Ontario Court of Appeal decided today that the federal government is within their rights to put a price on the carbon tax, as well as collect revenues from polluters in provinces that are failing to meet the national standards. However, after that verdict, Doug Ford's carbon tax fight is getting ready to go to the Supreme Court.
The court ruled that the carbon pricing scheme set up by the Trudeau government is constitutionally sound and has the critical purpose of fighting climate change.
Following the decision, Doug Ford announced that he will seek leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, the highest court in the country, saying that 'the federal government's carbon tax is making life more expensive for Ontarians and is putting jobs and businesses at risk."
The Trudeau government introduced the pollution plan in 2018, calling it ‘the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.’ Ontario Premier Doug Ford argued from the outset that the carbon charge was an ‘illegal tax’ which violates the constitution, because it allows the federal government to intrude on provincial jurisdiction.
However, the 4-1 majority of the Appeal Court agreed with Trudeau, rejecting the notion that the carbon levy would be an illegal tax.
Speaking on behalf of the court on Friday, Chief Justice George Strathy said, “The need for a collective approach to a matter of national concern, and the risk of non-participation by one or more provinces, permits Canada to adopt minimum national standards to reduce (greenhouse gas) emissions.”
The Federal Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna applauded the court’s decision, saying it was fantastic news for anybody who believes climate change is an urgent issue.
In a statement, McKenna criticised Doug Ford, Andrew Sheer and Jason Kenney, saying “It is unfortunate that Conservative politicians ... continue to waste taxpayers’ dollars fighting climate action in court rather than taking real action to fight climate change.”
Speaking on Friday, Doug Ford countered back saying the provincial government will continue to fight against the ruling, promising to “use every tool at our disposal to challenge the carbon tax and we will continue to fight to keep this promise."
In agreement with Ford, Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Sheer has said that after October 21, provinces will no longer have to fight the carbon tax in court. He added “My first action as prime minister will be to scrap Justin Trudeau's carbon tax and help Canadians get ahead."
Despite these assurances from the Conservative government, Stewart Elgie, a professor of law and economics at the University of Ottawa, told CBC that he believes the decision has been made. He believes that now two provincial Appeal Courts have upheld the federal law, it is “very likely the Supreme Court will do the same."
He added, "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."