Saskatchewan's Court of Appeal has ruled carbon tax as constitutional

Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal ruled Friday afternoon, the federal carbon tax imposed on the province is constitutionally sound and falls within the legislative authority of Parliament. The court ruled 3-2 in favour of the federal government.

The ruling was dissented by Justices Ralph Ottenbreit and Neal Caldwell, with the argument that Part 1 of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is an unconstitutional delegation of Parliament’s law-making power.

The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS), says they will continue to advocate for climate change policies that don’t harm the agricultural industry, and most importantly, recognize producers’ role in managing and sequestering carbon.

APAS was the only farm organization that was granted intervenor status in order to support the province’s position in court. The organization felt it was imperative agricultural producers were involved in this case.

Todd Lewis, APAS president says, “as producers, we are not constitutional experts, but there are some fundamental issues of fairness that need to be addressed,” adding that, “farmers and ranchers are unable to pass along the costs of the carbon tax, and it will only serve to harm their businesses, without helping to deal with carbon emissions.”

Arguments originally began in February, and the decision was expected within six months to a year following. The case was ultimately prioritized.

“The Justices may have been split on this issue, but producers are not,” Lewis
concluded.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney issued a statement following the ruling.

“We are reviewing the decision, but our initial reaction is that this narrow, split decision is far from the broad victory the federal government sought, and we are glad all five justices rejected the federal government’s claim for a sweeping power to regulate GHG emissions in the provinces,” says Kenney. “We disagree with the narrow ruling by the majority that the federal government has the power to ensure a provincial minimum price on carbon, and will be joining Saskatchewan in their appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.”

He adds that “believe that our strong plan makes a federal carbon tax redundant and that a consumer-punishing retail carbon tax — whether imposed by the NDP or by Justin Trudeau — is the wrong way to go. It’s all economic pain and no environmental gain.”

The Western Canadian Wheat Growers are also disappointed with the ruling.

“Farmers have already taken many significant steps to protect our land and water through no-till planting, improved crop rotation and other actions. We would support the provincial government to appeal this decision in order for farmers to continue their environmentally friendly agriculture methods,” said Cherilyn Jolly-Nagel, Saskatchewan Director.

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