Ontario’s top court has ruled the federal government’s carbon pricing system is constitutionally sound and has the critical purpose of fighting climate change.
A panel of the Ontario Court of Appeal says in a split decision that Parliament has the jurisdiction to legislate in relation to matters of “national concern.”
Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government had argued the federal carbon pricing scheme is a violation of the Constitution, because it allows the federal government to intrude on provincial jurisdiction.
“We are reviewing the decision, but our initial reaction is that this second split decision, following the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal’s split decision in May, has again rejected the federal government’s bid for a sweeping power to regulate GHG emissions in the provinces,” said Premier Jason Kenney.
He noted other jurisdictions, including Quebec and some Maritime provinces, have been spared the national carbon tax as a result of provincial policies that do not mirror the federal carbon tax.
“This is only reasonable. It is neither necessary nor constitutional to impose a one-size-fits-all national carbon tax on a province that has its own plan to reduce GHG emissions.
“Alberta has a strong and credible plan to reduce GHG emissions without punishing Albertans with a retail carbon tax on people trying to heat their homes or drive to work. This makes a federal carbon tax redundant here.
The NDP called on the Kenney government to focus on addressing climate change, rather than costly legal action.
“We are calling on the UCP to review today’s decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal and consider withdrawing other lawsuits it’s pursuing regarding carbon pricing before more taxpayer dollars are wasted,” said NDP environment critic Marlin Schmidt.