Ontario joins Saskatchewan in legal case against federal carbon tax

Ontario’s new provincial government is officially joining Saskatchewan in challenging the federal government’s carbon tax in court.

“We agreed today to join forces and use every single tool at our disposal to challenge the federal government’s authority to arbitrarily impose a carbon tax on the people of Ontario and Saskatchewan,” says a joint statement issued Thursday morning by Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe from the Council of the Federation summer meeting taking place in Saint Andrews, New Brunswick.

Ontario’s premier says the province will be filing as an intervener to support the Saskatchewan government in its reference case launched in the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal in April.

The Saskatchewan government believes the federal legislation can be successfully challenged because it imposes a carbon tax on some provinces but not on others, via the federal ‘backstop’ that Ottawa says it will impose if provinces don’t meet the minimum carbon price requirements.

“We will do everything in our power, including going to court, to prevent the federal government from imposing this punishing tax on hard-working people. That is why Ontario will be supporting Saskatchewan and intervening in the reference case Saskatchewan has launched with its Court of Appeal. Ontario and Saskatchewan agree that the federal government should not be able to impose a carbon tax on provinces. The federation needs to work more collaboratively,” say Premiers Ford and Moe.

At least two other provinces appear unlikely to meet the carbon price mandate in the eyes of the federal government.

Prince Edward Island’s Environment Minister Richard Brown told CBC last week that the climate action plan his government is preparing for the September 1 federal deadline will not include a carbon tax or a cap and trade system.

Manitoba’s government is planning to go ahead with a carbon tax, but at a flat rate of $25 per tonne rather than meeting the federal minimum requirement to increase from $10 to $50 per tonne by 2022.

Premiers from across the country are in New Brunswick for Council of the Federation meetings on Thursday and Friday.

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