Premier of Saskatchewan Scott Moe, right, opens the door with Premier of Ontario Doug Ford prior to a media event in Saskatoon, Thursday, October 4, 2018. Liam Richards / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Ottawa argues one province’s failure to bring in a carbon tax will harm others

The federal government argues it has jurisdiction to impose a carbon tax as it’s a matter of national concern in a factum filed in Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal

The federal government argues it has jurisdiction to impose a carbon tax in Saskatchewan because climate change is a matter of national concern.

In written arguments filed with Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal this week, Ottawa says a failure by one province to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will hurt the rest of the country.

“Failure by one province to reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions will harm other provinces and territories, harm Canada’s relations with other countries, and impede international efforts to mitigate climate change,” the factum says.

Saskatchewan has asked the court to rule whether the federal government’s plan to force a carbon tax on the province is constitutional.

The province believes its own climate change plan, which doesn’t include a carbon tax, is enough to reduce emissions.

Premier Scott Moe said he feels confident in the challenge despite Ottawa’s factum and doesn’t believe the province is hurting the rest of Canada.

“Whether or not the federal government has the ability to tax one jurisdiction or one province, we don’t agree with that,” he said. ”The constitution, we believe, doesn’t agree with that.”

Ottawa contends that there is no constitutional requirement for federal laws to operate equally throughout Canada.

The factum says emissions in Saskatchewan have increased by 10.9 per cent since 2005 and accounted for 10.8 per cent of the country’s emissions in 2016.

The case won’t be heard in court until at least the spring.

“We have a plan for a healthy environment and a stronger economy,” federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said in a statement. ”Because, at the end of the day, it’s what we owe to our kids and grandkids.”

Ontario has joined Saskatchewan’s case as an intervener while also filing its own legal challenge.

Ottawa argues in the factum that the law isn’t an intrusion into provincial jurisdiction. It says the act implements the “polluter pays” principle which is “firmly entrenched in environment law in Canada.”

Keith Stewart, a spokesman for Greenpeace, said Ottawa is arguing that climate change is such a big deal for Canada as a whole that not allowing the federal government to bring in a carbon tax would affect it constitutional authority to provide peace, order and good government.

“If Saskatchewan wants to try and challenge that, they’re pretty much going to have to try and deny the evidence presented by the intergovernmental panel on climate change, which every country in the world has signed on to,” Stewart said.

Amir Attaran, a law professor at the Ecojustice Environment Law Clinic at the University of Ottawa, said Saskatchewan made a mistake by not acknowledging that the federal and provincial governments can co-operate to solve a problem such as climate change.

“That is, I think, going to kill them,” he said.

The federal government had asked all provinces to put a minimum price on carbon emissions of $20 a tonne by Jan. 1.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau detailed a plan to charge a carbon tax in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick — the four provinces that have refused to comply.

Ottawa plans to rebate the carbon tax money to residents of those provinces. It’s estimated the average household payment in Saskatchewan will be $598.

Opposition NDP Leader Ryan Meili said the province hasn’t displayed anything solid so far with its climate strategy.

“To date we haven’t seen any strong evidence that there’s a great deal of hope for the case,” Meili said.

On Tuesday, Saskatchewan introduced its own climate change law, which would amend current legislation.

Under the proposal, large emitters would be required to register with the province and could receive credits for reaching targets.

Related: Carbon tax, sales tax breaks finally make B.C. LNG happen

Related: Carbon tax breakdown: Understanding issues around the policy tool

Ryan McKenna, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

WATCH: Brother of missing Hope woman makes emotional appeal for more media attention

Next search for Shawnee Inyallie Nov. 18 along Highway 1 towards Boston Bar

Gas price drop expected to hit Fraser Valley today

Analyst says to take advantage, warns slight increase may follow

Chilliwack teen to take on the world after winning Canadian junior dog-handling national championship

Chilliwack’s Kayla Penney is heading to Crufts to compete for her first international title

Country talent Petunia returns to Bozzini’s in Chilliwack Saturday

Petunia, performing Nov. 17, is referred to as ‘The Savior of Country Music’

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

TransLink will immediately suspend work on light rail

Lower Mainland couple missing in Thompson-Okanagan area

Barriere RCMP received a missing persons report for two senior overdue travellers

Vancouver Warriors cancel first 2 weeks of season as labour dispute continues

The announcement means games scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 will no longer be played

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Most Read