Canadian Supreme Court upholds carbon tax in 6-3 vote

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

As Canada's top court says the federal government's carbon tax is constitutional, the decision is being met with mixed reaction from premiers, politicians, and special interest groups.

Canada implemented the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act in 2019, setting a minimum price on carbon emissions in provinces that don't have equivalent provincial prices, a law that was challenged by Saskatchewan, Ontario and Alberta. The majority in that case declared the carbon-pricing law to be "a constitutional Trojan horse" that would give the federal government in Ottawa too much regulatory power over the provinces.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says his province will talk with its allies and consult Albertans "to protect jobs and the economy".

In Saskatchewan, Moe said the decision did not change his "core conviction that the federal carbon tax is bad environmental policy, bad economic policy, and simply wrong".

He said consultations will start "right away".

"One thing Albertans can be sure of is we are not going to use this, the excuse of this decision, or the federal carbon tax, to squeeze more money for the government out of Albertans". "So we are looking at what can we do to minimize the cost to our economy, to taxpayers, and to jobs".

"While the Supreme Court has determined that Prime Minister Trudeau has the legal right to impose a carbon tax, it doesn't mean he should, and it doesn't make the carbon tax any less punitive for Saskatchewan people", he said in a statement.

Kenney said the decision opens the door for the potentially unlimited exercise of federal powers over issues provinces should have jurisdiction over.

The tax has been a main source of conflict between Ottawa and the Saskatchewan government since it was first brought in by the Liberal party three years ago.

The Canadian Taxpayers' Federation says it'll continue to oppose the policy, pointing to an example.

At stake was the hotly contested tax that's set to climb all the way to $170 per tonne in 2030, and which has stoked governmental outrage in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, in particular.

"The fact remains that this tax represents higher costs for millions of Canadian families and businesses", he added.

Meanwhile, B.C.'s government says it's pleased with the Supreme Court's decision. The province has already asked the federal government for this change and for it to be retroactive to January 1, 2019. The province has had various forms of a carbon tax for large industrial emitters since 2007.

A greenhouse gas offset program is also being developed by the provincial government. Mayor Kennedy Stewart applauds the court's decision, saying the ruling "is an affirmation of the approach" taken in Vancouver. "We can't keep having our climate laws ripped up every time there's a change in government". "The action we take here in Vancouver has an impact on the entire world". Moe said it would be an option for regulated industries to meet their emissions targets by buying offsets from farmers, ranchers, and the forestry industry.

Kenney said that a third of the Supreme Court judges dissented further validated Alberta's position.

"What I support is to be aggressive to address the climate change issue", he said.

The Liberal government unveiled a strengthened climate plan late previous year that it says will reduce emissions to 503 megatons and described carbon pricing as a "critical element" of meeting that target.