Federal carbon tax is unconstitutional, says Alberta Court of Appeal

  • Feb. 24, 2020 2:20 p.m.

EDMONTON — The Alberta Court of Appeal has ruled that the federal carbon tax is not constitutional.

In a 4-1 decision, the court says the legislation that brought in the tax erodes provincial jurisdiction.

The Alberta government had argued in its challenge of the tax that climate change isn’t a national issue requiring overriding federal intervention.

The federal government countered by saying climate change is a national and global concern that can’t be left to each of the provinces to take on alone.

The majority of the Appeal Court judges sided with the province.

“The act is a constitutional Trojan horse,” said the portion of the decision written by three of the four majority justices.

The court rejected federal arguments that reducing greenhouse gases met the legal test of being a national concern.

“Almost every aspect of the provinces’ development and management of their natural resources … would be subject to federal regulation.”

It noted health care, minimum wages and justice are all national concerns, but are administered by the provinces.

The court ruled that, for something to be a national concern within federal jurisdiction, it would have to be beyond the scope of provincial powers.

Monday’s decision is the first to side with a province against the federal government.

Courts in both Saskatchewan and Ontario upheld the federal levy last year.

The Supreme Court of Canada is to hear Saskatchewan’s appeal of its court’s decision this spring.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2020

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