Sask. producers applaud province for taking federal carbon tax to court

The issue:

  • The Saskatchewan government filed a reference question in the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal on Wednesday asking the court whether the federal carbon pricing legislation violates the Constitution. Farm groups, who have supported the Saskatchewan government’s opposition to the carbon tax, are welcoming the court challenge.

Why does it matter?

  • Saskatchewan is currently the lone holdout to Ottawa’s plan to impose a carbon tax or cap-and-trade program on all provinces. (Although frontrunners in upcoming Ontario and Alberta elections — Doug Ford and Jason Kenney — have said they’re opposed.)
  • Saskatchewan Justice Minister Don Morgan says the province’s lawyers believe the federal carbon tax legislation can be successfully challenged because it imposes a carbon tax on some provinces but not on others.
  • A carbon tax could be directly applied to farm fuels and inputs, with manufacturing and transportation costs indirectly passed on to farmers.

Who’s welcoming the challenge?

  • The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) and Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association have both issued statements welcoming the action (so far.)

Quotes:

“This runs contrary to the principle of federalism, which is one of the bedrocks of our constitutional division of powers, because it fails to respect the sovereignty and autonomy of the provinces with respect to matters under their jurisdiction. Simply put, we do not believe the federal government has the right to impose a tax on one province but not others just because they don’t like our climate change plan.” – Saskatchewan Justice Minister Don Morgan

“We have many concerns about how Federal law could negatively impact our farmers
and ranchers. We support the Province’s request to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal
for clarification on the constitutionality of Federal carbon law.” – APAS president Todd Lewis

“For far too many years, growers have been guilty of not ‘tooting our own horn’ and now the federal government is attempting to force a carbon tax on us, raising our costs and impacting middle-income farmers.” – Western Canadian Wheat Growers president Levi Wood.

Timeline:

  • The province says it wants a ruling before the beginning of 2019, when federal government has said it would impose its own price on carbon.

More info:

  • The press conference with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Justice Minister Don Morgan:

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