Ontario ‘alarmist’ over federal powers if carbon pricing law stands, court hears

TORONTO — The federal government says Ontario is being “alarmist” in its fight against Ottawa’s carbon pricing law.

It says there is no merit to the province’s claim that Ottawa will gain vast new powers.

A provincial lawyer on Monday told Ontario’s top court the law is unconstitutional because it strays far into provincial powers.

He said the federal government could be able to tell people when to drive or where to live if the law stands.

Today, a lawyer for the federal government disputed that notion.

She says Ottawa’s only aim is to curb dangerous climate-changing emissions, which do not respect provincial boundaries.

In her submissions to the Ontario Court of Appeal, Sharlene Telles-Langdon stressed the urgency in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to stop global warming scientists say will be catastrophic. The provinces, she said, simply can’t do it on their own.

“There is a gap in Canada’s ability as a nation to meet the challenge as it now faces,” Telles-Langdon told the five-justice panel. “The federal power is directed toward a national measure, one that cannot be adopted by the provinces. This act is on the right side of that line.”

At issue is the validity of federal legislation that kicked in on April 1 and which imposes a charge on gasoline and other fossil fuels as well as on industrial polluters. The law applies in those provinces that have no carbon-pricing regime of their own that meets national standards.

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government under Premier Doug Ford has denounced the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act as an illegal tax grab that will force up the price of gasoline and heating fuel.

Telles-Langdon, however, argued the act respects provincial jurisdiction and recognizes the validity of provincial systems in relation to local industry regulation.

“It’s the same throughout Canada,” Telles-Langdon said. “What it does is ensure a national system.”

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 takes 5 more lives in Alberta

Alberta announced five more deaths related to COVID-19 on Monday, almost doubling… Continue reading

Red Deer grateful to Saskatoon police for helping during 9-1-1 outage

Telus Mobility customers had to dial 9-1-1 from a landline before outage was resolved

Federal wage subsidy plan will help businesses say central Alberta business representatives

Prime minister says businesses losing 30 per cent in revenue eligible for 75 per cent wage subsidy

A message from the Advocate publisher

In good times and bad, The Red Deer Advocate has been here… Continue reading

Charitable Red Deer-area fundraisers are postponed or ‘re-imagined’ due to COVID-19

Virtual daffodil sales and some online benefits are planned

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Newspapers are safe to touch, World Health Organization confirms

Just make sure to wash your hands, as you would after touching any surface or object

David Marsden: Signs of kindness lift our spirits during COVID-19 pandemic

From teddy bears, to colourful cutouts of hearts, to expressions of support… Continue reading

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada as of March 30 afternoon

The latest numbers of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada as… Continue reading

COVID-19 spreads to vulnerable communities as new provinces report deaths

Tragedy struck one nursing home in Ontario, where seven people have died of COVID-19

Charities seek extra help from feds to keep services running as revenues dry up

Donations expected to decline between $4.2 billion and $6.3 billion

Most Read